Pope Francis

Pope Francis to release Climate Change Encyclical urging action against climate change

Pope Francis, well on his way on becoming the most popular and moderate pope in recent history, is preparing to publish an encyclical on ecology and climate change, urging the world to stop turning their backs on nature. The document is expected to be released in time to be read before the next round of U.N. climate treaty talks in Paris at the end of the year. Of course, Pope Francis’ rather frequent commentaries concerning climate change, toppled by his much anticipated encyclical, has angered climate change skeptics. Critics have been quick to voice that the pope is using religion to front a radical environmental agenda.

Pope Francis

Image: The Telegraph

An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. The letter is sent by the pope with the intent of being circulated among the bishops of the world, or a particular part of the world. The encyclicals (circulars) provide instructions that are usually intended for the clergy, the Catholic faithful or other “men of good will” outside the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has long been an advocate of environmentalism and has asserted on more than one occasion that climate change is real.

“I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” he said last week.

The pope is no scientist, though, so don’t expect the encyclical to be consumed far too long with scientific analysis or the likes.

“It’s not an easy issue because on the protection of creation and the study of human ecology, you can speak with sure certainty up to a certain point then come the scientific hypotheses some of which are rather sure, others aren’t,” Francis said at a news conference last August. “In an encyclical like this that must be magisterial, it must only go forward on certainties, things that are sure.”

In fact, it’s rather sketchy what the document will contain. What we know so far is that it’s in its third draft and under review by the Vatican orthodoxy guardian, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with the Vatican Secretary of State’s office and the pope’s own theologian. According to Pope Francis, the document is expect to be released in June or July of this year.

He’s not the first pope to voice his concerns over global warming or to engage in environmental activism.  John Paul II and Benedict XVI who have also pointed that climate change is undergoing trough a crisis and measure need to be taken. During his speech from 1990, pope John Paul the 2nd state that catholics were obliged by the nature of their religion to protect the planet as it is God’s creation. As for Pope Benedict, he has remained in the memory of man as the “Green Pope” because of is frequent public interventions against deforestation and other world wide environmental troubles. Pope Benedict also installed solar panels at the Vatican. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, is also a prominent Christian figure who often voices environmental concerns.

Over the ocean, in America however the Pope’s strong environmental stand didn’t bear well with conservatives.  Steve Moore, stated for The Heritage that the pope’s policy is a total disaster, since his environment views but also the ones on the economy will just make things worse with people being poorer with less liberty. A blogger from the Catholic journal website, First Things, blamed Pope Francis for using religious propaganda in favor of the so-called “climate change theory”.



6 thoughts on “Pope Francis to release Climate Change Encyclical urging action against climate change

  1. russ george

    The Pope in his wisdom is right to be concerned about the ravages of CO2 though he ought to take note that CO2’s worst effect is upon the oceans of this blue planet not the atmosphere. In just a few decades the oceans have drifted 30% more toward an acidic state. Even worse though is the fact that high and rising CO2 has been promoting a global greening of lands which is devastating to ocean plant life. http://russgeorge.net/2014/06/28/global-greening/

    More grass growing means less dust blowing and ocean pastures around the world are dying from a hundred year drought of dust that is required to sustain ocean pasture plants. Plankton, like the grass of pastures on land is vital to the amount of life that the ocean pastures can sustain. Without healthy pastures ocean life and fish are in peril.

    What the Pope surely understands is our collective and individual responsibility to be “good shepherds.” Our ocean pastures of still waters desperately need our help to restore their green life. In doing so we will restoreth the soul of the most important resident of this blue planet, Mother Nature. http://russgeorge.net/2015/01/19/become-a-good-shepherd/

  2. Leo

    1. Pope Francis is a scientist – he has a Masters in Chemistry.

    2. The Pope is advised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, consisting of the cream of the world’s scientists including non-believers. http://www.pass.va/content/scienzesociali/en/events/2014-18/sustainable/statement.html

    3. The Pope is also advised by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (including leading economists) including the most qualified non-believers.

    4. The Pope is extremely well-informed on global affairs. eg the Vatican diplomatic corps, bishops, priests, religious and missionaries and charities in almost every country, city and many villages in the world – the whole spectrum from leaders to ordinary people, men, women, children. The only “superpower
    level” information he lacks is from spy satellites and electronic spying.

    The Pope is better informed on complex matters of practical judgement than most world leaders or even Fox News “experts”!

    5. The Pope is not swayed or silenced or nuanced by the need to seek re-election, watch opinion polls or get rich donors/”bribers?” to fund his re-election campaign. In this sense he can be less biassed.

    What more can you ask for in writing a secular report let alone an encyclical ?

    Obviously he has certain values you might or might not agree with with.

    Popes only claim a special authority on matters of faith and morals, they do not claim any divine guidance on empirical matters. But, for the reasons above any person of good will should take seriously what he has to say on pragmatic matters.

    Incidentally, Pope Benedict’s wrote an encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’ which showed his belief in human-caused climate change:

    50 “… the protection of the environment, of resources and of the CLIMATE obliges all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet.”

    Benedict also made the Vatican the world’s first carbon-neutral state.

  3. Empirical Fact Beats Models

    Ocean acidification is a bogeyman. It violates the very rules of physics, climate alarmist sassert the oceans are getting hotter yet the oceans are picking up more CO2.

    This violates science principles in that a warmer ocean will gas out CO2 not absorb it. So here we have one of those most basic violations of science and clear thinking that shows global warming is nothing but a religion.

    This sampling error and limited sampling of the ocean on the aspect of acidification only accelerates the buffoonery of this assertion. Statistical ignorance such is seen in ocean acidification drives erroneous conclusions wish then drives expensive and ineffective public policy.

  4. Leo

    Empirical observations show both ocean acidification AND ocean warming happening now.

    I don’t know what your level of scientific education is but I think you might be confused by the MAXIMUM amount of gas which can be dissolved in water ie when the water is saturated, and then if you increase the temperature, the Maximum carrying capacity usually decreases leading to outgassing IF it is already saturated. if it is not yet saturated there will not be outgassing.

    Oceanic CO2 levels are not yet at the maximum physical CO2 saturation but are acidifing increasing sufficiently to harm alkaline calcium carbonate shell formation in many marine invertebrates and the rest of the food chain including eventually us.

    A basic physics reminder:
    We have known from the 1850’s that CO2 IS a greenhouse gas. Venus, with its extreme CO2 concentrations, is the hottest planet in our solar system even though Mercury is much closer to the Sun.

    Over many millions of years, CO2 was slowly asborbed from the air and locked into huge fossil (coal, oil and gas) deposits.

    During the natural warming and cooling of the last 800,000 years, CO2 levels varied between 175ppm (ice ages) to 300ppm (warmest periods) = 125ppm difference.

    But in the last 200 years (Industrial Revolution) humans have released perhaps half of this stored fossil CO2 into the atmosphere so that in the last 100 years CO2 has increased from 300ppm to 400ppm.

    Are you surprised we are changing the planet?

    Over 97% of climate scientists believe the earth is warming and humans are causing it.


    They know more about climate than you or I – check out the second link for the mainstream science.

  5. Empirical Fact Beats Models

    As usual, fail to support your assertions. Appeals to authority are not enough. Neither the 97% BS. Its simply not true and is a lame talking point.

    From the Schipps article:

    Appropriate null hypothesis: “This natural variability has prompted the suggestion that “an appropriate null hypothesis may be, until evidence is obtained to the contrary, that major biogeochemical processes in the oceans other than calcification will not be fundamentally different under future higher CO2/lower pH conditions””

    It turns out that far from being a stable pH, spots all over the world are constantly changing. One spot in the ocean varied by an astonishing 1.4 pH units regularly. All our human emissions are projected by models to change the world’s oceans by about 0.3 pH units over the next 90 years, and that’s referred to as “catastrophic”, yet we now know that fish and some calcifying critters adapt naturally to changes far larger than that every year, sometimes in just a month, and in extreme cases, in just a day.

    Data was collected by 15 individual SeaFET sensors in seven types of marine habitats. Four sites were fairly stable (1, which includes the open ocean, and also sites 2,3,4) but most of the rest were highly variable (esp site 15 near Italy and 14 near Mexico) . On a monthly scale the pH varies by 0.024 to 1.430 pH units.

    The authors draw two conclusions: (1) most non-open ocean sites vary a lot, and (2) and some spots vary so much they reach the “extreme” pH’s forecast for the doomsday future scenarios on a daily (a daily!) basis.

    At Puerto Morelos (in Mexico’s easternmost state, on the Yucatán Peninsula) the pH varied as much as 0.3 units per hour due to groundwater springs. Each day the pH bottomed at about 10am, and peaked shortly after sunset. These extreme sites tell us that some marine life can cope with larger, faster swings than the apocalyptic predictions suggest, though of course, no one is suggesting that the entire global ocean would be happy with similar extreme swings.

    Even the more stable and vast open ocean is not a fixed pH all year round. Hofmann writes that “Open-water areas (in the Southern Ocean) experience a strong seasonal shift in seawater pH (~0.3–0.5 units) between austral summer and winter.”

    This paper is such a game changer, they talk about rewriting the null hypothesis:

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