Pope Francis has decided to follow up other progressive positions during his less than two years as the Catholic leader by addressing the environment and climate change. Last October he said:
“The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”
During the coming year, Francis plans to issue an encyclical on the issue, urging “all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds.” To influence the UN meeting on climate change in Paris, Francis also plans to convene a summit of world religious leaders and speak to the United Nations General Assembly.
Conservatives are not happy about the pope’s latest campaign because the Koch brothers, who specialize in pollution, pay the conservative leaders. Calvin Beisner of the religious right Cornwall Alliance said that believing in climate change “really is an insult to God … and it will eventually lead to tyranny.”
Beisner promised that the U.S. evangelical movement will oppose the pope in his environment endeavors because it is “un-biblical” and a “false religion.” (Actually, the evangelicals have been declared that Catholicism is a false religion for almost five centuries; this is nothing new.)
From JunkScience.com comes a blog called “Pope now decides to dabble in environmentalism and opine on Climate?” that describes Francis as a “commie pope,” “stupid leftist” and “despicable.”
Claiming to use the “best science,” an editorial from Investor’s Business Daily entitled “Pope Francis Errs In Linking Church To Green Movement” states:
“The Vatican apparently now has been infiltrated by followers of a radical green movement that is, at its core, anti-Christian, anti-people, anti-poor and anti-development. The basic tenets of Catholicism — the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls — are detested by the modern pagan environmentalists who worship the created, but not the creator.”
In “Climate Hoax Peddling and Meddling, Pope Allied with Obama, Backing UN World Government, Wealth Redistribution” on GOP The Daily Dose, Rick Wells foams at the mouth about all his objections to progressive ideas including “amnesty” and “global socialism.”
“How could [Pope Francis], as the head of a church who is anti-abortion, be in cahoots with the United Nations, the world’s largest population control agent and abortion facilitator? Is Pope Francis a well-intentioned victim of manipulation or is he somehow knowingly involved in the scheme?”
The Right Wing News blog matches its message to its title, “Pope Francis Delves Deeper Into Leftist Politics by Pushing Global Warming Hoax.” After the typical accusations of the pope’s “attacking economic freedom” and “pushing the global warming hoax,” Dave Blount writes:
“There has never been a more un-Christian ideology than environmental radicalism. The Pope praising the Devil would not be more appalling.”
Furious tweets are available here.
NASA scientists have found some good news about the Earth’s climate. Tropical forests are absorbing as much as 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the Earth’s total absorption of 2.5 billion tons. Current, trees and other vegetation are estimated to absorb 30 percent of the carbons that people dump in the atmosphere. The down side is that this increase can deplete water in the area, leading to greater numbers and severity of wildfires. Global warming is still a threat, but scientists are gaining a better understanding of carbon regulation out of the atmosphere. Just keep the tropical forests and put out fires.
China plans to shut down 2,000 coal mines this coming year and limit the total to 10,000 by 2016 after closing 1,100 this year. Presently, China, with four times the population of the U.S., produces about four times as much coal as the United States.
The number of solar energy jobs increased 20 percent last year to 143,000. That’s over 50 percent more jobs than the 89,000 coal mining jobs in 2012, and almost half those in just the states of Kentucky and West Virginia. Kentucky gets 90 percent of its electricity from coal; California gets less than 1 percent of its power from coal. Coal use for electricity is concentrated in fewer than ten states; it’s easy to determine which states because their senators decry solar energy and the need to reduce pollution from coal. Barclays recently downgraded the utility sector’s high-grade bonds because so many power companies rely on coal although the solar industry is exploding in job growth in the U.S.
Another 85,000 people in the U.S. now work in wind energy and related industry although wind power represents about 3.5 percent of U.S. power generation. This figure shows a 20-fold increase in about a decade.
The commercial nuclear industry employs 120,000 people, and the geothermal power industry provides over 13,000 jobs in the nation.
One example of clean energy takes place in Hugoton (KS), population 3,900, that employs 75 people at an annual payroll of $5 million at a cellulosic ethanol refinery. Abengoa is the largest cellulosic biorefinery in the world, producing up to 25 million gallons ethanol fueled by non-edible waste bought from local farmers. Refined biofuels are sold in the U.S., Europe, and parts of Asia. The startup money came from the 2009 stimulus program.
Tesla Motors, which manufactures electric sports cars, paid back its $465 million loan almost 10 years early. The $30 billion in loans had a two-percent default rate, and the program created or saved about 35,000 permanent jobs. That’s 1000-fold the number of permanent jobs offered by the Keystone XL Pipeline.
In her very low-key way, Sister Simone Campbell said, “Pope Francis’s message and tone are making Catholic Republicans a little uncomfortable.”
Fox network commented that the pope is aligning with “extremists who favor widespread population control and wealth redistribution.” Marc Morano came back on the channel to repeat his falsehood that there has been “no global warming” for “almost two decades.” On Special Report, Doug McKelway warned that the pope’s encyclical “may play well into the hands of skeptics who’ve long seen global warming fears as almost religious in its fervor, with biblical themes of a pristine Eden-like planet tarnished by man, followed by a loss of grace and a coming doomsday.” McKelway came to Fox after ABC’s Washington, D.C. affiliate fired him for getting into a “shouting match” with his boss over his faulty criticism of “far left environmental groups” in a piece recycling the false claim that President Obama received campaign money from BP.
The head of Fox, Roger Ailes, is a Catholic, and the chair of parent News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, is raising and educating the daughters from his latest marriage as Catholics and had them baptized in the Jordan River. Pope John Paul II inducted Murdoch into the “Knights of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great.” Catholic Fox pundits include Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Brian Kilmeade, Andrew Napolitano, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Father Morris. The current Senior Communications Adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Greg Burke, was previously the Fox News correspondent covering the Vatican, a position he held for ten years.
In Congress, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is a devout Catholic as are other GOP leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). In the last House of Representatives, Catholics comprised almost 30 percent of the GOP membership. Ten GOP senators, including Marco Rubio (FL) are also Catholics. (Rubio is already upset with Pope Francis because of his involvement in opening communications between the U.S. and Cuba.) The question may be how far the GOP Catholics will go to oppose their religious leader.
The best news about climate change is that people are finally paying attention to it.