Pope’s Climate Position Will Hurt Poor Countries -by Larry Bell

June 8, 2015

An April report issued by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences presents a likely sneak preview of an “Apostolic Exhortation” that Pope Francis will introduce at a UN General Assembly meeting later this year. Headlined to “Safeguard Creation,” it will warn of dire threats posed by human-caused climate change which, in turn, are rooted in excessive capitalist consumption.

The message draws directly from religious doctrine of the United Nations, its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in particular. Following the IPCC script, the solution to global ills and disparities is to replace fossil energy with anemic, intermittent windmills and sunbeams; penalize and redistribute the unfair wealth of prosperous nation; and set the world’s clock back to pre-industrial times.

According to the pontifical academy report, “This century is on course to witness unprecedented environmental changes. In particular, the projected [IPCC] climate changes or, more appropriately, climate disruptions, when coupled with ongoing massive species extinctions and the destruction of ecosystems, will doubtless leave their indelible marks on both humanity and nature.” This “unprecedented” change is attributed to record high atmospheric CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions.

The academy report goes on to claim, “Such a temperature rise, occurring in a warm interglacial papalacadepoch that we call the Holocene, has not been seen in tens of millions of years,” ignoring a well-established reality that this is entirely untrue. The climate was just as warm during the “Medieval warm period” one thousand years ago, and also during the “Roman warm period” one thousand years before that. As a matter of fact, it was at least as warm during the 1930s through early 1940s when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were lower.

Despite those current “record high” CO2 levels, satellite records show that global mean temperatures which were supposed to rise off the charts have remained flat over the past 18 years and counting. Doggedly attempting to come up with some plausible explanation for this, the IPCC continues to adjust its climate CO2 sensitivity estimates and malfunctioning computer models to push the projected disasters further into the future.

Citing the IPCC’s 2014 report as the source, the pontifical academies add that “This [climate change] creates a serious risk that Earth will cross critical thresholds and tipping points, pushing whole environmental systems, such as rain forests, continental ice sheets, coastal wetlands, monsoon patterns and marine food webs into different states or even annihilation.”

Yet even the IPCC’s 2012 Special Report on Extreme Environments admits to a “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not attributable to human-caused climate change. As a matter of fact U.S. hurricanes haven’t increased in frequency, intensity, or normalized damage since at least 1900. It has been very nearly a decade since a Category 3 or stronger hurricane made landfall on our coasts.

U.S. Government data don’t reveal any association between climate change and tornado activity either. Whether measured by the number of strong tornadoes, tornado-related fatalities or economic losses associated with tornadoes, the latter half of the 20th century shows no climate-related trend. The data on droughts also shows no correlation.
Just as IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer advised in 2010: “ . . . one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”

Speaking at a news conference Brussels, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

Referring to a new international treaty that environmentalists hope will be adopted at the organization’s Paris climate change conference in November-December, she made clear that the purpose is “to change the [capitalist] economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years.”

This philosophy has failed to recognize that capitalism is the only economic model that has worked over those past 150 years. As societies get wealthier, they can afford to invest in programs and technologies which lift people out of otherwise hopeless conditions. Included are hundreds of millions throughout the world who lack electricity essential for industry . . . or even for basic lighting and refrigeration to safely preserve food.

Many among them depend upon animal dung and wood for cooking and heating, with countless lives shortened by disease and exposure as a result. Such avoidable societal burdens fall most heavily upon the young, the elderly and the infirm.

While there should be no doubt that Pope Francis cares deeply about raising world poverty awareness, true causes cannot be blamed upon climate, carbon, or capitalism.

Depriving fragile populations of access to locally abundant, reliable, and affordable fossil energy makes no scientific or moral sense. His Holiness is receiving very misguided and counterproductive advice.

This article was published at CFACT.org

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