Pope Francis Off the Mark on Climate Change

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Pope Francis has been a different kind of pope, unafraid to bend the rules a bit if it means modernizing the Catholic Church. He has thus become a hero of sorts to progressives, though he remains true to Catholic doctrine when it comes to gay marriage, gender issues, and other areas where Christians and liberals tend to diverge. If Francis and Caitlyn Jenner may not have a lot to talk about, liberals were much happier with the pope’s encyclical on global warming. Called “Laudato Si,” the missive calls on all nations to reduce fossil fuel dependence, increase green energy production, and steer away from carbon dioxide emissions.

“Global regulatory norms are needed to impose obligations and prevent unacceptable actions, for example, when powerful companies dump contaminated waste or offshore polluting industries in other countries,” Francis wrote.

According to the encyclical, global warming can “mostly” be blamed on human activity and the burning of fossil fuels for energy. Francis says that there is a growing need “to change lifestyles, production, and consumption” if we are to avoid the worst effects of a warming planet. He said the effects are already in evidence, as seen by rising sea levels and the increased acidity of the world’s oceans.

Naturally, Democrats jumped at the chance to align themselves with the Roman Catholic Church. Obama’s secretary of energy said the encyclical “should inspire all countries to redouble the deployment of clean energy technologies and energy efficiencies and find the international will to significantly cut global emissions of heat-trapping pollution.”

When they want to really stir the pot, liberals love to take aim at Mother Theresa. They accuse her of worsening the situation in Calcutta with her abstinence approach to sex, burying the poverty-stricken population in a hopeless situation without condoms or abortions. Now, one can imagine the sick kind of mind that would criticize a true saint in every sense of the word, but let’s take them at face value. Let’s assume that liberals stand against religious leaders who would doom the poor with ill-conceived ideas.

They should be out in the streets, then, protesting Pope Francis. Because for whatever else the green movement is, it is a death sentence for third-world countries who would like to one day move into the 21st Century. Fossil fuels make the world go around, and environmentalists like Francis would have us abolish them. Why? For no better reason than to avoid a dire vision of the future that is wholly fictional.

This puts governments in the developing world in the tricky position of trying to boost their economies while simultaneously placing caps on the best solutions. We’ve seen what fossil fuels can do for the Western world, and we’ve seen what they can do for countries in the Middle East. By standing in the way of this progress, we are essentially saying that we are willing to watch people die so that no more polar bears have to. If, that is, polar bears are even affected by rising temperatures, a fact still in dispute.

The left may have papal support on climate change, but the rest of us should stick to what has been shown to work. That is, after all, the very definition of conservatism.