The Pope Versus Climate Skeptics
The Maddow Blog - In late 2014, Pope Francis said he intended to invest considerable energy in 2015 urging Catholics around the globe to help combat climate change. He wasn’t kidding.
The pope, joined by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, hosted a summit on the issue on April 28, 2015, and the name of the gathering was itself intended to get attention: “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development.” The event organized panels on relevant “scientific, moral and economic issues” surrounding global warming.
All of this is designed to coincide with ongoing international talks, but also the summer release of Francis’ encyclical on the climate crisis. The New York Times reported yesterday that the pope’s activism is “alarming some conservatives in the United States who are loath to see the Catholic Church reposition itself as a mighty voice in a cause they do not believe in.”
In the United States, the encyclical will be accompanied by a 12-week campaign, now being prepared with the participation of some Catholic bishops, to raise the issue of climate change and environmental stewardship in sermons, homilies, news media interviews and letters to newspaper editors, said Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant in Washington.
But the effort is already angering a number of American conservatives, among them members of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian group partly funded by the Charles G. Koch Foundation, run by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, who oppose climate policy.
In a statement, the group’s president said he fears the “Holy Father is being misled,” despite Francis’ heart being “in the right place.”
Yes, the politics of climate denial are getting a little tricky. In a few months, this will get a little more complicated.