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Pope Francis on Climate Change

Written By: - Date published: 1:07 pm, June 16th, 2015 - 66 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Economy, global warming - Tags: , ,

Basic common sense from the Pope on climate change. The fact that it will come across as radical, or too radical to many, is lamentable. All in all, it merely reads, to me at least, as an echo of reports and analyses that reject or resist political and economic interference.

“The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution (to climate change), even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions,” he wrote

(emphasis added)

“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft

From ‘The Independent (linked above) “The economic powers shall continue to justify the current world system, in which speculation and and the aim for financial returns to prevail that tend to ignore each context and the effects on the environment and on human dignity.”

And from the Guardian (linked above) “…the draft rejects outright “carbon credits” as a solution to the problem. It says they “could give rise to a new form of speculation and would not help to reduce the overall emission of polluting gases”. On the contrary, the pope wrote, it could help “support the super-consumption of certain countries and sectors”..

 

 

66 comments on “Pope Francis on Climate Change”

  1. weka 1

    ‘super-consumption’, good phrase.

    What I liked about the pre-announcement the other day was stating this is an ethical issue, not an economic or scientific one.

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      When it comes to destroying the world that future generations have to try and live in, it is definitely a moral and ethical issue. We have to ask ourselves – does humanity deserve to survive. If so, it better demonstrate it.

  2. adam 2

    The Pope also has the full support of the Jesuite scientific community. May I point out this is a body not know for its’ radicalism.

    This has been coming for some time and a conference coming up in Australia was when the report was going to be released. My sources tell me, that the Vatican is far from happy about the treatment of the Aboriginals, and other poor communities in Australia under the current liberal government.

    You may or may not realise, but the catholic worker, and many other catholic organisations have been opposed to neo-liberalism since its’ re-emergence to dominance, and it’s radical and bullish changes since the 80’s.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      He’s the first Jesuit who has been Pope, yes?

    • Sans Cle 2.2

      Jesuits are quite radical in my estimation. Their approach to education is pretty radical for a religious organisation. I learned from them “to question is to begin to believe”; and not from a strict Catholic God fearing perspective – but from a philosophical enquiring perspective, deferring my (at the time very young, formative) mind to query everything until I could form my own opinion.
      That’s a lesson I have never forgotten, and a trait I can quickly identify in people who have been educated by Jesuits. Liberation education, and I haven’t seen it’s equal in any secular education.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Yep – this Pope is a good one – all my Catholic friends are happy to have one they can be proud of for a change.

  4. Tiger Moutain 4

    better to have a Pope of a near enough marxist persuasion (more left than many social democrats), but Frank can’t go the “whole hog” if he wants to keep his gig, because his general approach invites an examination of the basic tenets of theism, he is saying people can make a significant difference, don’t just leave it to the ‘creator’

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      God gave humans free will to make their own choices, so goes the doctrine.

    • Ovid 4.2

      You’re debating what you think Catholicism is, rather than what it really holds:

      Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

      Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 339.

      It goes on to say at para 341:

      The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. the beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

  5. adam 5

    I found this 10″ the other day now I found the video. Woohoo.

    1960 this was published!! Man before his time Mr Tom Lehrer.

    We need more Satirists.

  6. Chooky 6

    Catholic Church has not been too good on birth control and overpopulation and women’s rights…(understatement) ….fullstop

    Human overpopulation and climate change?

    • Bill 6.1

      “Human overpopulation and climate change?”

      No.

      Between ~1% and 5% of humanity is responsible for anywhere between ~40% and 60% of fossil related GHG emissions. Or, put another way, between ~70 million and 350 million people are responsible for about half of all fossil related GHG emissions.

      Take out over three of the more than six and a half billion people who are not in that approximate 5% and we don’t even get half way to solving the problem of GHG emissions.

      Take out the 5% and we’re half way to getting to where we need to be on the GHG emissions front.

      The problem is emissions, not population.

      • weka 6.1.1

        Hmm, not sure what you are meaning there. There is definitely an issue if the developing countries with large populations want to follow the West.

        At the same time, the region’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions has risen to almost 40%. This is largely due to rapid economic growth in the People’s Republic China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. Increased demand in future will likely be met mainly by fossil fuels, as these are cheaper and more readily available than renewables. If this trend is confirmed, Asia will be responsible for almost half of global carbon emissions by 2030.

        http://blogs.adb.org/blog/asia-climate-change-battleground

        There are also significant other environmental reasons for looking at population too (not least how food is grown).

        None of that is particularly about Catholicism though, other than it promotes the antithesis of countries being able to control population (and they’re not the only ones).

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          What I’m meaning is that if you live in NZ and earn over something like $50 000, you are probably the part of the global population that is responsible for around 50% of emissions.

          What I’m meaning is that the vast majority of populations in China, India and elsewhere are only responsible for a small percentage of global emissions.

          You say that if they all wanted the consumerism we have, then there’d be a problem. This is true. But even with fast economic growth, by the time the average person in those places was in any position to be ‘like us’, the game would have already have been a bogey for some time.

          China’s emissions are due in large part to western industry re-locating there.

          That emissions have to peak in 2030 for China (later for India and Africa) and then drop at something like 5 -10% per annum is entirely in keeping with the Copenhagen Accord and the science of climate change.

          I can see no good reason to deny China, India, Africa etc the opportunity to lay in infrastructure such as water,power, transport networks, hospitals, schools etc that the west has.

          The problem is if they lay in the same non-resilient infra-structure that we have.

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.1

            The Eurasion Silk Road and Belt plan is predicated on rail and shipping. China knows that future fossil fuel use is very definitely limited.

          • weka 6.1.1.1.2

            Sorry, I’m still not getting it. The link I gave says that emissions for Asia Pacific are already high (40%), not low. How can increasing population there not be a factor in emissions? eg 3 x as many people wanting to drive a car (or whatever the number is). Are you suggesting that the West can offset that by scaling down? Or are you saying that the governments in the Asia Pacific can choose to to reduce emissions at the same time as populations are increasing rapidly? That seems possible, but not a given.

            “I can see no good reason to deny China, India, Africa etc the opportunity to lay in infrastructure such as water,power, transport networks, hospitals, schools etc that the west has.”

            Whereas I see good reason to deny everyone those things, ourselves included, if they’re created using fossil fuels. Food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, education quality of life, sure, but Western style infrastructure? I just don’t see how that is possible without using fossil fuels.

            • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Asia is not going to stop developing towards higher standards of living. They are not going to stop industrialising, commercialising and innovating. And they don’t care about “western style” infrastructure, they’ve seen that the west is failing very badly. They’ll do things their own way, in a style which suits themselves.

              And yes they are going to burn plenty of fossil fuels on the way.

              • weka

                “And yes they are going to burn plenty of fossil fuels on the way.”

                Why?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Because that’s how you fabricate and move complex high value added materials and structures.

            • Bill 6.1.1.1.2.2

              From memory, the cross-over in emissions happened around 2005…ie, in 2005 Annex 2 country emissions eclipsed Annex 1 country emissions – became over 50% of total emissions.

              But going with the 40% for Asia/Pacific, how much of that is western insofar as off-shoring industry off-shores emissions too? How much of their economic growth is from imported ‘assembly line’ production that gets exported back to the west and is therefor meaningless in terms of domestic production/consumption?

              Bearing in mind that the overwhelming majority of people in China live off the back of around US$1 or US$2 a day, (the same applies to India, much of the rest of Asia and Africa too) and therefor probably have precisely zero access to fossil fuels, the growing population, in and of itself, isn’t an AGW problem. That there is a burgeoning middle class in a hugely unequal society, on the other hand, is, because a proportion of them are consuming fossil fuels at a rate high enough to be included in that global 1 – 5% who are the real problem with regards emissions.

              Moving away from consumerism and individual fossil fuel use, what’s with the denial of hospitals, access to treatment/medicine and education? And why deny sanitation or power distribution systems? It strikes me as unnecessary and misanthropic.

              China is a part of the problem, but also a part of the solution. If it had somehow been prevented from doing anything in terms of development, then AGW would still be a critical problem… and many solutions would not be as developed or as affordable as they are (solar power comes to mind). At the end of the day, China has committed to peaking by 2030 or 2035. This is well within the limits of the science around AGW. They seem to be slightly ahead of target btw. Now sure, it’s not just about peak, it’s about the rate of emissions on the way to peak and the drop off rate after the peak. But China does seem to be pulling its finger out, and that can’t be said of the west.

              • Macro

                Yep! And further to that – Nick Stern et all have just released a report which suggests China’s GHG emissions could peak by 2025. Which is really good news if that is so.
                I entirely agree with your analysis re the exportation by western countries of their manufacturing GHG emission to China and India. It never ceases to amaze me just how hypocritical we can be, pointing the finger at China! I’m not sure I agree with the first sentence of the Guardian report linked to: I think 2 degrees is well in the rear view mirror. 🙁
                http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/08/chinese-greenhouse-gas-emissions-may-peak-by-2025-says-study

                • Bill

                  Within that link, there’s the following…

                  According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 2C pathway requires annual greenhouse gas cuts of 40-70% by 2050, compared with levels in 2010 – and to zero or below by 2100.

                  Thing is, that’s utter crap. Take out the reliance on carbon capture and storage, both working and being rolled out, and get back to scientific certainties (90%+) instead of playing around with odds of 3/1 shortening towards 2/1, and 2 degrees is almost certainly gone. There is a remote chance (given uncertainties around various forcings) that zero fossil related emissions by 2050 can allow the world to avoid +2 degrees C.

                  Fucking around until the end of the century, playing the odds, and relying on non-existent technologies leaves us looking at prospects of +4 degrees.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.2

        The problem is emissions, not population.

        Emissions are, if you’ll forgive me, the result of an output function. And people, particularly the numbers of them, are an input into that.

        Put it another way: a 1000 people living in a certain way is always going to generate far more emissions than 100 people living in that certain way.

        • weka 6.1.2.1

          There’s also a time factor and the rate at which large populations grow. 100 people doubling their population is differen to 1000 people.

          btw, I’m in favour of NZ limiting population growth too. I think we should be working off what the land here can sustain without fossil fuels.

        • Bill 6.1.2.2

          Yes, emissions are an output function running at around 20:80 (input/output) that suggests a 1:50 input/output ratio- based on the numbers of people using fossil fuels; not total population.

    • Ovid 6.2

      Catholic Church has not been too good on birth control
      Agreed.

      overpopulation
      Of the top 10 most populous nations, only 2 are more than 15% Catholic. The United States (20.8-23.9%) and Brazil (63%). China is 0.75% Catholic. India is 1.58%. Source

      women’s rights
      Agreed, I don’t see it tempering its position on abortion, divorce or women in the clergy any time soon. But I don’t see how that contributes with any significance to climate change.

    • adam 6.3

      All of society is quite backwards on treating women as human beings – just wondering where your anti-catholicism is coming from Chooky?

      • Chooky 6.3.1

        fights for family planning rights, contraception , abortion, fights for equal pay for equal work, working outside the family….discrimination against sexual relationships outside marriage, no sex without procreation eg what happened in Ireland to unmarried mothers and their children ( mass graves)….really i shouldn’t have to spell it out….the Catholic Church is built on misogyny and women as second class citizens in the eyes of this Papist church and their patriarchal God …for a long time they have opposed equal rights, contraceptive rights , abortion rights to women in secular society who arent even Catholic!…they oppose population control…they want women subservient to the male ego

        overpopulation is a core contributor to climate change…the Catholic Church patriarchal anthropocentric, anti feminist , anti -ecology value system ethos contributes directly or indirectly to overpopulation

        • Chooky 6.3.1.1

          See: The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis
          Lynn White Jr
          Science 10 March 1967: 1203-1207.

          Click to access Lynn-White.pdf

          “Both our present science and our present technology are
          so tinctured with orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature that no solution for our ecologic crisis can be expected from them alone. ..

          “The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture. It has become fashionable today to say that, for better or worse, we live in the “post-Christian age.” Certainly the forms of our thinking and language have largely ceased to be Christian, but to my eye the substance often remains amazingly akin to that of the past. Our daily habits of action, for example, are dominated by an implicit faith in perpetual progress which was unknown either to Greco- Roman antiquity or to the Orient. It is rooted in, and is indefensible apart from,
          Judeo- Christian theology. The fact that Communists share it merely helps to show what can be demonstrated on many other grounds: that Marxism, like Islam, is a Judeo-Christian heresy. We continue today to live, as we have lived for about 1700 years, very largely in a context of Christian axioms…

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.3.1.1.1

            You might as well point the finger at “western civilisation” as being the problem, plundering both people and the environment. And when you look at the US, and before them the UK, and before them the Spanish, the Dutch, it does seem that way does it not.

            • Facetious 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Do you realise all these cultures built the culture and comforts you live in today? What the world would be without the English, Dutch or Americans?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Yes, it is very good having billions of slaves and many mines in poor provinces of the world supplying the centres of imperial power with resources, goods and wealth.

                • In Vino

                  Not to mention the possible imminent destruction of our own environment. What can possibly go wrong with our marvellous modern world?

          • Charles 6.3.1.1.2

            Interesting article. Starts off well, but a logical error is made on page five, second to last paragraph, which should have alerted him to revise the conclusion and direction of the essay. He was so intent on his conclusion, that he forgot the overall historical and philosophical context – while speaking about the history of theology and philosophy – so lost his obligation as an academic to remain apart from his own ideas. However, it still reads the more or less important facts/ideas, and since this thread is loosely about Christianity, this part,

            “It is often hard for the historian to judge, when men explain why
            they are doing what they want to do, whether they are offering real reasons
            or merely culturally acceptable reasons.”

            …in the context of the preceeding paragraphs, would have been quite radical thinking in 1974, bordering on heresy, (ironic for him too!) when the essay was written. Such an idea should have been thoroughly explored and understood widely now, by Christians in general, but for some reason it has been further pushed aside to make room for things inside Christianity that are not about Christianity at all – see quoted sentence above.

            • Chooky 6.3.1.1.2.1

              @ Charles…there were precursors to Lynn White Jr’s article (eg. Nietzsche, Toybnee, Edward C. Whitmont, ecofeminists) and there have been many articles and books since Lynn White Jr’s article in ‘Science’ critical of patriachal monotheism’s anthropocentrism which began with Judaism and the suppression of the matriarchal pagan earth worshipping religions and Caananites….and was continued by Christianity and the suppression of the primal indigenous pagan religions wherever there was colonialism…the rape, objectification and plundering of the Earth has been parallel with the treatment of women under patriarchal monotheism…

              (and it is not just confined to Christianised countries ….where ever there are patriarchal societies eg China…there is overpopulation, subjugation of women and primal religions and environmental degradation….eg Tibet)

              ….those disciplines which have theorists which argue along similar lines to Lynn White Jr include ecologists, ecofeminists, ecotheologians, postmodern geographers, social historians, ecopsychologists

              While most in- house Christians are oblivious … Thomas Berry, Catholic priest, cultural historian and ecotheologian was notable for arguing along similar lines as Lynn White Jr. and the ecofeminists…. as does NZ theologian Lloyd Geering

  7. johnm 7

    As Robert Atack keeps repeating: it’s too late now the destruction is done and CC has it’s own unstoppable momentum. Probably what’s motivated the Pope to speak now is CC chaos events are being reported daily and even the msm are doing it. An impotent gesture it might have had some influence back in the 60s and 70s.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    We are witnessing a power struggle within Catholicism between money and people.

    This is the first Latin American pope. He represents the great majority of Catholics, who are poor. Previous popes came from the wealthy countries which is where Catholicism and Christianity are dying.

    The battle lines are being drawn. Will the next pope also represent the poor or will we return to a pope representing the well off? Time will tell.

    If the next pope is from Asia, Africa, or Latin America, we may see a glacial shift in Catholic policies around women, sexuality, and reproductive rights.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      Hopefully they don’t knock the current guy off…

    • Ergo Robertina 8.2

      The next pope may well be from those regions; the shift is reflected in a micro way in the priests coming from overseas to minister parishes in NZ as our priests die out.
      Don’t expect that to involve progressive attitudes towards women or sexuality. It may have the opposite effect.
      Anecdotally, there are issues in some parishes: if the priest is from a country where women have few rights, they may have an attitude to women (who typically do the parish admin and general organising) that’s out of step with the culture.

      • Chooky 8.2.1

        yes the Catholic Church is now flourishing in third world countries where women have few rights…. women in the West have fought long and hard for womens’ rights especially to control their own fertility …and in Western countries where women are relatively emancipated Catholicism is in decline.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.2.1.1

          just remember that lots of different things are in decline in Western nations.

          And western cultural imperialism is just that – judging others by our own values, and discounting what works for them because we decide that it doesn’t work for us so they should do things our way. Because we know better than those poor people in poor countries.

          • Ergo Robertina 8.2.1.1.1

            You mean we should think it’s fine for women in other cultures to have no rights because it ”works for them”; exactly who does it work for again?
            It’s not cultural imperialism to demand basic human rights for women.

            • Colonial Rawshark 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Maybe we should have economic sanctions or regime change as options on the table unless they comply with our demands and our wisdom.

              • Ergo Robertina

                Maybe you should stop constructing strawman arguments, and engage with topics in an intellectually honest manner.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  You used the word “demand.” What do you propose to do when these other nations don’t comply with our “demands.”

            • Chooky 8.2.1.1.1.2

              +100 Ergo Robertina…”It’s not cultural imperialism to demand basic human rights for women.”

              women are not a subspecies…and the violation of womens’ rights have gone hand in hand with male ‘God given’ exploitation and disregard of the planet Earth

              Click to access 26-Seager.pdf

  9. Jim 9

    A lot of this commentary seems to be unaware that Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Blessed Paul VI were on the same page on some things. Look at John’s Pacem in Terris. Nuclear Weapons are a bad idea. Full.Stop. Carpet bombing cities is Not On. Full Stop. Look, at Paul’s Populorum Progressio. What he has to say about ‘free’ trade offers no comfort to the cheerleaders for TPPA. Yes, I agree, there are huge gaps – women’s rights, particularly, and related matters of fertility control. But I’m with Raul Castro on this guy – much more of this and I might have to start going to Mass again. And you watch all those fuckers in the Republican Party, and Tony Abbott, tying themselves in knots on Friday after the climate change encyclical is out.

  10. Atiawa 10

    I read this at http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/69389240/faith-in-taranaki-not-so-old-im-stupid
    Contributed by Revd Canon Pat Scaife, South Taranaki for the good people of Hawera and surrounding districts.
    Pats church beckons.

  11. Reddelusion 11

    Do We Look that Stupid? How do scientists expect to be taken seriously when their “theory” is supported by both floods AND droughts? Too cold AND too hot,medieval period was a random fluke, yet 2003 warmest year is global warming, can’t explain in hind site last 30 years but models are dead cert going forward, scienctific method is now determined by a vote by the IPCC

    • weka 11.1

      Speaking of stupid, if you don’t understand how floods and droughts can both be consequences of a phenomenon you really shouldn’t be expressing an opinion in public.

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.2

      How do scientists expect to be taken seriously when their “theory” is supported by both floods AND droughts?

      Changed weather patterns means that precipitation is very high in some areas, leaving very little rain for other areas. This results in some places getting much wetter/more regularly flooded, while other placed end up with far too little rain.

      BTW are you under 40? If so, you are going to see the full brunt of AGW in your life time. Enjoy the fruits of your karma in your old age, son.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.3

      scienctific method is now determined by a vote by the IPCC

      No, it isn’t. The IPCC doesn’t do any research. Why are you ignorant of this?

      Please link to the scientific literature regarding the Medieval warm period, and demonstrate how it constitutes a “fluke”.

      Link to the science discussing increased drought and precipitation, and point out the flaws.

      Show me a “dead cert” prediction from a climate model.

      You can’t do any of these things because you’re an incompetent fool.

  12. Reddelusion 12

    Bet each way can’t be wrong, answer the rest weka

  13. Reddelusion 13

    chicken little syndrome is not and answer and if you can’t explain some thing simply then you probably can’t explain it Simple can be harder than complex, you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. Most projections are bs, cut back to the bone they are guesses or scientifically huge risk of endogenousity risk in climate statistics

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Please link to the scientific literature regarding the Medieval warm period, and demonstrate how it constitutes a “fluke”.

      Link to the science discussing increased drought and precipitation, and point out the flaws.

      Show me a “dead cert” prediction from a climate model.

  14. Macro 14

    Pope Francis sees off the climate change deniers
    http://www.gocomics.com/francis/2015/06/08#.VXYU9xczLbo.twitter

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