The Guardian reported over the weekend that Pope Francis will issue an encyclical asking Catholics to ask for action on climate change. The pope’s directive will “coincide” with the Lima Agreement that seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the Vatican has not confirmed that the document is in the works, the article quotes several authorities by name, and they speak as if it is a done deal. The document would be in keeping with the Pope’s messages on environmental stewardship; the article quotes Francis as telling an audience in Latin America, “Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.” It’s also consistent with his general high regard for scientific findings.
Not everyone is on the same page. The Guardian points out in a smug, derisive tone that Cardinal George Pell has publicly questioned the understanding of climate:
In a speech he gave to a UK think tank that questions the reality of anthropogenic climate change, he raised many of the tired, already-answered arguments that are features of the self-labelled “skeptic” community. (He also quotes some of the least reliable sources of climate information out there.)
The Guardian offers a quote from a U.S. evangelical group saying “the pope should back off” and that the Vatican “has been mislead on the science.” The group making the statement was the Cornwall Group, which the Guardian sneers “is about as well-informed as Cardinal Pell, given that its statement on climate change contains things like ‘We deny that carbon dioxide—essential to all plant growth—is a pollutant.’ ”