While flying from Sri Lanka to The Philippines, Pope Francis stirred up more discussion among Catholics and others about his positions on free speech, economics, and global warming. With regard to the theory among environmentalists that human beings are largely responsible for the warming trend, he said that humans have  “gone too far.” He also expressed the hope on January 15 that the coming conference in Paris on the environment would take a stand against global warming.  Organized by the United Nations, the conference is due to approve parts of the Paris Climate Deal in November 2015. 
 
In December 2014, it was announced that the pontiff will release an encyclical letter to the bishops and faithful of the Catholic Church on the natural environment. Winging his way over the Indian Ocean, he said that it is almost ready for release in June 2015.
 
The Pope said his long-awaited encyclical on the environment was almost finished and that he hoped it would be published in June, in time provide food for thought ahead of the UN climate meeting Paris in November. It was on the day of his inauguration that he said that environmental issues would have priority during his papacy.
 
When asked whether climate change is due mostly to humans, Pope Francis expressed some agnosticism. “I don’t know if it is all [man’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” said the Pope. “We have, in a sense, lorded it over nature, over Sister Earth, over Mother Earth.” 
 
“I think man has gone too far,” he said. “Thank God that today there are voices that are speaking out about this.”
 
Writing in a Spero News op-ed, Mark Morano expressed dismay at the pontiff’s environmental pronouncement. Morano is the editor of ClimateDepot.com  He served as the Communications Director for the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and as a senior aide to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Said Morano, “The Pope has been misled on climate science and his promotion of the UN agenda will only mean the poor will be the biggest victims of Climate Change policies. The Pope has picked a contentious scientific issue in which -- now going on almost two decades of no global warming, sea ice recovering, sea level rise actually decelerating, on every metric from polar bears on down - the global warming narrative has weakened. And to now have the Pope jump on that bandwagon would sow confusion among Catholics.”
 
Moreover, Morano expressed concern that by embracing claims that global climate change is mostly manmade, he will be aligning himself with “the biggest enemies of the Church and of Catholic moral principles.  These activists are pro-population control, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-sterilization, pro-euthanasia, etc. Some climate activists have even called for genetically altering humans to fight global warming. 
 
Criticisms of the Pope’s take on global warming and environmentalism have come from several other quarters. In December 2014, for example, an editorial at the International Business Times website said Pope Francis said his comments about the environment are "even more disturbing" than his "recent leftist statements." IBT opined that the Vatican "apparently now has been infiltrated by followers of a radical green movement."

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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