Commentary

If only the Koch brothers would listen to Pope — Pope Francis, that is

In anticipation of his U.S. visit that starts today, the good people at the Sierra Club have distributed a collection of some of the statements on climate change from Pope Francis in his May 2015 encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home.” If only he could get the Koch Bothers and the countless public officials they control to read and listen.

Pope Francis arrives in Washington today, bringing approval ratings that are the envy of every politician. While the capital seems hopelessly divided, Americans are united in support of Francis’s leadership. This is cause for hope.

Below are some key quotes from the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change that may be of use. Many of these have not gotten wide exposure — this trip will help ensure the Pope’s views are more widely known.

Climate Change is “One of the Principal Challenges Facing Humanity”:

Chapter One, Section I, 25:

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Fossil Fuels must be Substituted with Renewable Energy:

Chapter One, Section I, 26:

“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

On Climate Denial and “Blind Confidence in Technical Solutions”:

Preface, 14:

“Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions”

Climate is a Common Good, and the Science of Climate Change is Clear:

Chapter One, Section I, 23:

“The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”

On Current International Climate Negotiations:

Chapter Five, Section I, 169:

“We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.”

Powerful Countries have the Greatest Responsibilities:

Chapter Five, Section I, 169:

“Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most. International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good.”

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