Statement on Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change


June 18 is the official release date of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change. CEI’s Myron Ebell provides this assessment of Pope Francis’s statements, lamenting the neglect of how energy policies that count on bad climate facts can actually end up hurting the poor and perpetuating energy poverty.

“Pope Francis argues in his encyclical that the developed nations have a moral responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because climate change threatens poor people in poor countries the most.  However, poor people in poor countries lack access to the modern energy and technologies that allow people to deal with environmental challenges.  The Vatican seems to have forgotten to consider the effects that energy-rationing policies to reduce emissions will also have on poor people in poor countries.  Putting the world on an energy-starvation diet will consign billions of people to perpetual energy poverty. 

Global warming is a moral issue, but a proper moral evaluation must include comparing the impacts of global warming, which may be bad, with the impacts of global warming policies, which will almost certainly be catastrophic.  The Pope’s encyclical misses that significant matter.

The Vatican appears to have been very ill advised in preparing the encyclical.  It has been announced that two of the experts consulted were Hans Joachim “John” Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University.  Mr. Schellnhuber has advocated for the rapid de-industrialization of the West and for a world government to achieve environmental salvation and enforce population control.  Mr. Sachs has promoted misguided developmental policies in the Third World that have helped to stymie development and perpetuate poverty.”