June 15, 2015

THE POPE GOES POLITICAL: A draft of “Laudato Si,” a encyclical on the environment, calls climate change an “urgent” matter caused by human activity.

In the draft, Pope Francis wrote of a “very consistent scientific consensus that we are in the presence of an alarming warming of the climactic system.”

While acknowledging that natural causes, including volcanic activity, play a role in climate change, the pope wrote, “numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and others) emitted above all due to human activity.”

The pope wrote that there is an “urgent and compelling” need for policies that reduce carbon emissions, among other ways, by “replacing fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

According to The Guardian, the encyclical will have a decidedly anti-capitalist tinge:

The encyclical will go much further than strictly environmental concerns, say Vatican insiders. “Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that the environment is not only an economic or political issue, but is an anthropological and ethical matter,” said another of the pope’s advisers, Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Peru.

“It will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people’s life and health,” Barreto Jimeno told the Catholic News Service.

He was echoed by Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who coordinates the Vatican’s inner council of cardinals and is thought to reflect the pope’s political thinking . “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” Rodríguez Maradiaga said.

I’ve written about Pope Francis’s political inclinations and support of liberation theology before (here and here), so this doesn’t surprise me. The Pope’s aggressive entry into the global warming climate change debate recently caused the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to say, “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.”