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Pope Doesn't Say Much About Climate After All

But there are two problems with what Francis did say.

Nate Jackson · Sep. 24, 2015

Many observers feared (or hoped) that Pope Francis would pontificate on man-made global warming and the need for government solutions in Thursday’s address to Congress. But it wasn’t to be. Here’s the extent of his remarks on the topic:

This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concerns and affects us all. In “Laudato Si,” I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States — and this Congress — have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.

At first hearing, there’s really not much for conservatives who are conservationists to disagree with there. But there are two key problems: the pope’s assertion that climate change is “caused by human activity,” and who he addressed his comments to — Congress. The science is far from settled on the cause or reach of climate change (humans do impact the environment, but how much is the question), and most proposals before Congress involve hampering economic activity — i.e., exacerbating and not “combating poverty” — to fight a supposed menace we don’t fully understand.

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