Smiling, lovable, Pope Francis says and does the darndest things. Wildly popular, this Argentine pontiff provides the common touch that for millions, and not just Catholics, offers a welcome and very public picture of how the world’s most influential religious leader can live, pray and lead as a humble pastor.
With the much anticipated release of Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, this week, many faithful who rightly see this pope as yes, Catholic, will nonetheless be focused on the weight of the environmental assertions and claims that fill this nearly 200-page document. And the questions will begin with those who have been enlisted to promote Laudato Si, some of whom are decidedly on the wrong side of Catholic teaching.
Let’s begin with economist Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent supporter of abortion and population control, who was invited to speak at a conference on climate change at the Vatican. And does it bother anyone else, for instance, that Pope Francis – or the curial officials advising him – have chosen as his only lay advisor on the subject of climate change Hans Joachim Schellnhuber? And exactly why is the Vatican itching to tackle climate change in the first place?
Investors Business Daily has speculated:
(The) Vatican 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…Big Green believes too many human beings are the basic global problem. People, according to this view, are resource destroyers. Climate change, they say, is due to overpopulation of Mother Earth.
Enter Schellnhuber, a German scientist who came up with the 2 degrees Centigrade temperature limit and is known for his radical ideas on climate change. That is, we must limit any increase in global warming to 2 degrees or humanity faces unavoidable catastrophe. In 2009, for example, he claimed famously that the “carrying capacity” of the Earth is less then one billion people. It will be interesting to see if he still holds these views in the near future, and if so, what advice he will offer on how to adjust that number, given that the world’s population currently stands at 7.2 billion.
Schellnhuber, is director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute, which has been crafting data, indicating alarming climate change like the 2 degree trigger, to frighten German politicians into adopting radical climate policies. His predictions are based on yet to be validated, computer-generated models, predicting doomsday scenarios. In reality, satellite data confirms there has been no notable warming for the past 18 years. Sea ice is on the rise. Crop production is increasing. Hurricane numbers are down. Sea level rise has declined for the past decade – all of the catastrophes Schellnhuber predicted – are not happening.
Perhaps that is why Schellnhuber revised his 2011 statement that the emissions curve needs to peak no later than 2020 in order to meet the 2 degree target. Now he says: at latest by 2030. Funny how climate change alarmists will keep adjusting their predictions instead of evaluating new data. That’s an example of why some call climate change “a moral crusade in search of a scientific theory.”
Schellnhuber is also the director of the WBGU, the German Advisory council on Global Change. The council is made up of nine scientists. Their primary task is to advise policymakers in Germany and worldwide on how we should deal with climate change.
Their 446-page “Master Plan” for “The Great Transformation of Global Society,” was designed to fast-track Germany, and the world, into “sustainability” and an almost carbon-free society by 2050. Their draconian recommendations have caused the price of electricity to rise so substantially, Germans have taken to calling their electric bill their “second rent.”
To reduce carbon emissions, the German government has invested heavily in wind and solar power. But these methods have proved to be unreliable and unsustainable without government subsidy, tearing at the German economy.
Recommendations in the WBGU “Master Plan” include a “future council” made up of a few, non-elected men who would have the power to veto democratic decisions it deemed unacceptable. But a backlash against this kind of threat to democracy is brewing in Germany.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the German equivalent of the Washington Post, has been highly critical of Schellnhuber, and writes that one of the fundamental aims of the WBGU was changing Germany’s constitutional law: climate protection was to become an official state priority. The WBGU even called it a test for democracy, claiming that if society failed to act, it would tell us that democracy was no longer capable of functioning in the face of crisis. The FAZ disagrees, saying that the WBGU “failed to trick their way past democracy.”
Pope Francis, it seems, has been badly misinformed and led astray by advisors such as Schellnhuber. However, contrary to what global warming extremists suggest, the science of climate change is not decided.
Thomas D. Williams wrote on Breitbart News: “… a group of 90 prominent scientists, religious leaders and academics have written an open letter to Pope Francis. The writers profess their appreciation for the Pope’s efforts on behalf of the environment and his commitment to the Judeo-Christian principle of ’responsible stewardship’ for creation, but suggest that the people closest to him may not be providing him with all the facts about climate change.”
One of the most powerful arguments the authors put forward is the effect that alarmist proposals of carbon-reduction would have on the world’s poorest populations, especially given the pope’s ongoing insistence on a preferential love for the most vulnerable among us.
“The world’s poor will suffer from such policies,” the writers say. The poorest 1.3 billion in developing countries depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, he and other scientists contend, adding: “In light of the evidence, we believe it both unwise and unjust to adopt policies requiring reduced use of fossil fuels for energy. Such policies would condemn hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings to ongoing poverty.”
It is my sincere hope and prayer that Pope Francis listens to them.
Catherine Snow writes for the Acton Institute, from where this article is adapted.