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Below is a piece that Heartland Senior Fellow James Taylor and I got published at US News and World Report yesterday about how Pope Francis is being misinformed by the bureaucrats at the United Nations about the causes and consequences of climate change. (Hint: It’s not caused by man, and any natural warming that might occur is not bad .. and might be good!)
I’d like to think that Pope Francis can be persuaded by actual data — such as the fact that the global warming “panic” pushed as “fact” by the United Nations ended nearly two decades ago. So it stands to reason, one would think, that the pope might realize that humans aren’t causing global warming to happen because it’s actually … you know … not happening.
No such luck so far, judging by the pontiff’s early statements on US soil.
I don’t want to think that Pope Francis is so steeped in “Liberation Theology” that he can’t ever see facts. I hold out hope — as I did when I led a contingent to the Vatican in April to counter the UN’s climate advice to the pope. We’ll see.
Anyway, here’s the piece in US News and World Report:
Francis Misses the Mark on Economics
By James Taylor and Jim Lakely
Pope Francis’s trip to the United States this week is a historic event, and all should listen carefully to his words when he speaks on the importance of religion and faith. By all accounts, the pope is a pious man who cares deeply about the human condition.
The pontiff’s heart is in the right place when it comes to his concern for the world’s poor and for God’s creation. But Francis’s special knowledge and insight pertain to matters of faith, not science. The pope’s views on atmospheric science, energy economics and political implementation are certainly deserving of consideration, but these are secular issues.
Indeed, the best available information indicates Francis’s prescribed agenda on these topics would dramatically worsen economic well-being, achieve few environmental benefits and assign the poorest of the world to greater poverty and misery.
In June, Francis released an encyclical, titled Laudato Si, which was devoted to environmentalism. The media “pull quote” from that document was the pope’s observation that Earth “is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” That may be true in many of the nations that have followed the socialist course Francis seems to admire, but that is certainly not true in nations like the United States that have nurtured economic freedom.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has documented this, reporting that emissions of its Six Principal Pollutants of greatest concern have declined by approximately 70 percent since 1980. Similarly, it was the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the introduction of economic freedom behind the Iron Curtain that led to a dramatic improvement in environmental conditions in those countries during the past 25 years.
This same pattern is clear regarding carbon dioxide. Even if one believes the dubious notion that carbon dioxide emissions are creating a climate crisis, emissions from the United States and Western democracies are declining. Emissions from the Third World are solely responsible for the 33 percent increase in global carbon dioxide emissions so far this century. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than all nations in the Western Hemisphere combined, and Chinese emissions are rising at approximately 10 percent every year.
Francis writes in Laudato Si, “a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” Yes, temperatures have modestly warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age a little over a century ago, but that is far from disturbing. The pace of warming is quite modest, temperatures remain lower than those that existed during most of the past 6,000 years, and history shows humans have always benefited from warmer rather than colder climate conditions.
Francis warns “this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level.” True, but people and nations effectively adapted to the same pace of sea level rise throughout the 20th century. Why would things be any different utilizing more advanced 21st century technologies?
Francis laments we are experiencing “an increase of extreme weather events.” Exactly the opposite is the case, with objective data showing hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and other extreme weather events have substantially declined in frequency and severity as our planet has warmed.
Francis has a tremendous opportunity during his visit to the United States to spread the beauty and reach of God’s word. Unfortunately, he appears likely to squander this opportunity by misconstruing and emphasizing issues outside his area of theological expertise.