EcoLinks 06.29.15
Acton Institute Powerblog

EcoLinks 06.29.15

Good Stewards of the Earth
Religions for Peace New Faiths for Earth Campaign

Shortcomings undercut message of encyclical
Doug Bandow,

For instance, the encyclical complains much of capitalism as well as property rights, which, in the pope’s view, allow selfish individuals to act against the public interest. Yet capitalism provides the resources and technology to improve environmental protection. Indeed, the holy father acknowledges that “science and technology are wonderful products of a God-given human creativity.”

Pope Francis’s Encyclical Makes Waves from Brazil to the Philippines
Sergio Mello e Sousza and Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR

Faith can move mountains and, combined with scientific facts, can open people’s hearts and minds in a powerful way. The pope clearly sees that fighting climate change and restoring the Earth’s ecosystems is a moral duty we have to our fellow humans, to future generations and to Creation itself. This is a message that we find in the sacred texts of many other religions. Caring for the Earth is caring for the common good.

Steyer climate group cites Pope Francis in new ads
Timothy Cama, The Hill

NextGen launched an ad on YouTube last week, putting the pope alongside the Pentagon and business leaders who have called for action on climate change.

U.S. Must Take the Lead on Pope Francis’ Call on Climate Change
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Huffington Post

The Vatican’s commitment was clear to me when I visited there last year as the only American representative in a group of six legislators from around the world who were working to address climate change in their own countries. My international colleagues shared the impacts of global warming on their people — the destruction by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the droughts that harmed Mexico and South Africa. I spoke of the impacts on coastal Massachusetts from record-breaking ocean temperatures and rising sea levels. We all agreed that the world’s poorest are suffering the worst consequences — extreme poverty, famine, and disease.

The Laudato Si encyclical: Praise be to Pope Francis
Luis v. Teodoro, BusinessWorld Online

The much awaited papal encyclical on climate change and the environment that was finally released by the Vatican last week was also much dreaded in conservative circles within the Catholic Church as well as outside it. Pope Francis’ Laudato Si (Praise Be To You) is everything environmentalists and progressive Catholics expected it to be. But it isn’t exactly everything conservatives across the planet feared.

On climate change, will Christians follow Pope Francis or Rush Limbaugh?
David Horsey, Los Angeles Times

Does that sound like Karl Marx, or a guy named Jesus? The way you answer that question quite likely depends far less on the word of God than on the level of faith you place in the voices you hear on the radio.

The Pope’s Climate Letter Urges ‘Dialogue with Everyone,’ So Why Did Vatican Single Out and Harass Us?
Tom Harris, PJ Media

Had Francis followed his own advice to listen to other points of view on global warming, he would have learned of the strong evidence that much of the climate change material in his encyclical is misguided.

Pope Francis’ encyclical strikes a chord in Latin America
Amanda Maxwell, Natural Resources Defense Council

It is clear that Pope Francis’s green encyclical has arrived at an opportune moment, when various leaders from different countries in Latin America – all of which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, albeit perhaps in distinct ways – can, for their own reasons, all agree with the fundamental messages. The pope sees climate change as the common challenge for all of humanity – “urgent and pressing” – and, therefore, the obligation to overcome it is also shared. It is necessary, then, that the leaders of countries in Latin America and the rest of the world commit to ambitious targets, policies and climate agreements in the coming months and during the COP in Paris.

Climate change – will appropriate solutions be implemented?
Robert and Sonia Vogl, The Rock River Times

Both the EU and the US have expressed interest in increasing the sale of oil and gas from fracking operations. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, fracking bans in New York, France and other locations might be considered as interfering with free trade and potential profits

Pope Francis’s Encyclical and Environmental Justice
Leslie Fields, The Sierra Club

Just as Sierra Club’s founder John Muir declared, “(w)hen we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe,” Pope Francis also exhorted, (e)verything is connected and “(c)oncern for the environment thus needs to be joined in a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” Pope Francis explained an “integral ecology” in chapter four of the Encyclical as the way to see the connection respecting human dignity and caring for the natural world.

Pope Francis weighs in on climate change. How do his proposals measure up?
Jessica F. Green, The Washington Post

But empirical evidence is not nearly as definitive as the pope’s words. Pollution markets can be effective regulatory tools, though they do not always succeed. For example, in 1990 the U.S. Congress passed amendments to the federal Clean Air Act that created cap-and-trade markets for sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. These rules allotted emitters, such as power plants and cement producers, a certain number of allowances, which they could then buy and sell to meet their targets for reducing emissions. These markets were widely hailed as a success, dramatically reducing pollution without onerous command and control regulation. This success provided the model for the markets of the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, in part through market solutions.

Jon Stewart Has A Blast With GOP Response To Pope’s Climate Change Encyclical
Ed Mazza, The Huffington Post

Go and Pollute No More
Eric Holthaus, Slate

But it’s clear the pope’s message is resonating, even if not among every single American Catholic. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown, who once studied to be a Jesuit priest, lamented our “deep obsession” with “material stuff.” Martin O’Malley, the long-shot presidential candidate, cited the pope’s call when he announced an ambitious plan to power America with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Deke Arndt, a practicing Catholic and one of the U.S. government’s foremost climate scientists, was brought to tears while reading the pope’s message.

Pope’s climate change encyclical brings religion and science into dialogue (Commentary)
Rev. George V. Coyne,

Serious discussion of these issues has been going on for decades. Pope Francis now declares that sustaining the earth is urgent. There is no time to lose. Each one of us must be informed, take the obvious necessary actions and encourage others to do so. Action at the level of government agencies and international NGO’s is absolutely necessary but is not an excuse for action at the local level. That means me!

Pope Francis Slams GMOs and Pesticides for Destroying the Earth’s ‘Complex Web of Ecosystems’
Lori Ann Burd, EcoWatch

Pesticides have already made our Earth less rich and more gray by nearly wiping out monarch butterflies, which have declined by 90 percent, largely because increased glyphosate use has wiped out the monarch’s sole host plant, milkweed. Pesticides are a leading cause of our current pollinator collapse. With one-third of the bites we eat requiring bee-pollination, many world leaders, including President Obama, are waking up to the need for action.

RELEASE: New CAP Column and Infographic Reveal Religious Americans’ Views on Climate Change and Call Policymakers to Action
Center for American Progress

“’Laudato Si’ reinforces that the need for sustained climate action is not just backed by science—it’s a moral imperative,” said Claire Markham, Outreach Manager for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the column. “Communities of faith are in the unique position of being able to inspire both the public and policymakers to meaningfully act on climate issues that affect the entire global family.”

Can Free Trade Agreements Be Consistent With Climate Change Mitigation?
Bob Brecha, The Huffington Post

There are many important practical questions to ask about how we as a global community will choose to deal with this question of leaving fossil fuels in the ground. An interesting impulse to this conversation has been given by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si, in which he speaks of the environment, the atmosphere and the earth’s climate as parts of the global commons. While this language is not new, the encyclical (and here a particularly good commentary on its implications) discusses in strikingly clear language the competing views of how concepts of public and private property can come into conflict with one another. Instead, we must make trade-offs between how to use different resources, and, in the end, set frameworks for property rights that serve to keep us within the boundaries set by natural planetary systems.

Dionne: The pope, the saint and the climate
E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post

There is no ambiguity in what the pope is saying, which is why the critics will descend upon him. Even before Thursday’s formal release of the document (and Tuesday’s leaked draft), they accused him of meddling in political and scientific questions that are beyond his purview.

The Climate Post: Inaction on Climate Change Has Dismal Consequences
Tim Profeta, The Huffington Post

The report follows the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical–acknowledging that climate change is largely caused by humans–sparking bipartisan reaction. A review of surveys by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University found the majority of Catholic Republicans agreed that global warming is happening.

Pope talking drivel in encyclical: Catholic economist
The Sydney Morning Herald

The latest papal encyclical is “drivel” in its commentary on the operation of markets, says Oliver Hartwich, a Catholic economist and executive director of libertarian think tank the New Zealand Initiative.

Why Climate Change Is a Jewish Issue — and the Pope Is Right
J.J. Goldberg, Forward

But the necessary worldwide change desperately requires leadership from the world’s superpower. And America can’t play its role as long as our political system is held in a stranglehold by a mob that doesn’t believe in science. A stranglehold that is aided and abetted by some highly vocal, influential and tragically short-sighted voices that speak in the name of the Jewish community while the rest of us are busy with other things.

Climate Change column: Pope’s encyclical cycles back to Ipswich
Wicked Local

In other words, by tapping Brother Sun (and other clean energy sources) we can heal Mother Earth. Here in Ipswich, for example, Patrick and Maria Wilkins contracted a year ago for 28 solar panels on the south-facing roof of their nearly all-electric 1760 colonial home. With energy-star appliances, a tankless hot water heater and a heat pump supplement to their wood stove that also cools in the summer, their solar panels generated more energy than they use, supplying the Town’s grid with clean energy.

Climate change encyclical was much more
Albert C. Lin, The Sacramento Bee

Yet science and religion often are complementary: Science can express divinely inspired human creativity, and religion can offer explanations and ethical guidance where science cannot.

Pope unjustly disses capitalism in encyclical
Rich Lowry, My San Antonio

While the pope pays lip service to technological advances, he doesn’t appreciate their wonders. The Industrial Revolution was a boon to humankind. Consider the misery — the disease, the poverty, the illiteracy — before 1800, when if you weren’t an aristocrat, a general or a bishop, your life was probably nasty, brutish and short.

What Chief Justice John Roberts and Pope Francis have in common
John Copeland Nagle, CNN

The encyclical repeatedly acknowledges that neither the church nor anyone else has a monopoly on the wisdom and discernment needed to formulate the public policies needed to solve our environmental and societal problems.

No, Coal is NOT the Fix-All Solution to Energy Poverty
Rosaly Byrd, The Huffington Post

Pope Francis’ papal encyclical on climate change and the environment, titled “On the Care of Our Common Home”, was released last Thursday, recognizing climate change as a moral issue (the poor will suffer the most from a changing climate), while also calling on political leaders to replace fossil fuels with less-polluting sources of energy. The encyclical endorses the science that says climate change is human-caused, resulting from coal, oil, and natural gas use, and also states that humanity is failing in “its God-given role to be a responsible steward of Earth,” while time is running out to fix the problem. Papal encyclicals are one of the highest forms of papal teaching, expected to be taken very seriously by Catholics.

Paris Climate Conference Could Spell ‘Economic Suicide’ For US: Climate Skeptic Fred Singer
Avaneesh Pandey, Interntional Business Times

However, according to Austrian-born American physicist Fred Singer — a prominent climate “skeptic” — the Paris climate conference could be the harbinger of “economic suicide” for the United States, the Guardian reported Friday.

Climate change poses ‘catastrophic risk to human health,’ experts warn
Andre Mitchell, Christian Today

“Climate change has the potential to reverse the health gains from economic development that have been made in recent decades – not just through the direct effects on health from a changing and more unstable climate, but through indirect means such as increased migration and reduced social stability,” Professor Anthony Costello of the University College London (UCL), a co-author of the report, explained.

Louise Gorenflo: Demonstrate care for others, nature
Louise Gorenflo, Knoxville News Sentinel

The encyclical is not so much a plea to change the world as it is an urgent call to investigate our attitudes and beliefs that drive us to consume all of creation and spit it out as waste. The rapid advancement of science and technology, which has put enormous power to destroy creation in the hands of a few, has not been balanced with the development of our care for each other and creation.

Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle
Rosie Scammell, The Guardian

Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.

Pope’s ‘Climate Change’ Letter Brandished at UN, Its Condemnation of Abortion Ignored
Stefano Gennarini, J.D., Christian Daily

Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment made an impact on UN negotiations this week. But in the rush to emphasize its input on climate change, his forceful condemnation of abortion and population control remain overlooked.

Pope encyclical a ‘bible’ to coal-threatened Batangas–priests
Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) executive secretary, said it was necessary for the Church to be at the forefront of the fight against coal because the government “is adamant about pursuing the extension of these destructive operations.”

Kootenay churches chime for climate action
Will Johnson, Nelson Star

The controversial document, which was published in May [sic], has inspired millions across the world while simultaneously drawing criticism from those uncomfortable with the Pope’s stance. But in Nelson, the reception has been warm.

The Pope’s Moment of Grace
William Doino Jr., First Things

The new encyclical has been widely described as “the pope’s encyclical on climate change.” But one shouldn’t be misled by the headlines. While Francis clearly accepts and promotes the dominant scientific opinion about climate change, Laudato Si is about far more than that. As Fr. Joseph Fessio notes: “It’s about heart change, an ‘integral ecology’ that recognizes that ‘We are not God’ and proposes ‘redefining our notion of progress’ and adopting a ‘responsible simplicity of life, in grateful contemplation of God’s world, and in concern for the needs of the poor and the protection of the environment.’”

Bruce Edward Walker

has more than 30 years’ writing and editing experience in a variety of publishing areas, including reference books, newspapers, magazines, media relations and corporate speeches. Much of this material involved research on water rights, land use, alternative-technology vehicles and other environmental issues, but Walker has also written extensively on nonscientific subjects, having produced six titles in Wiley Publishing’s CliffsNotes series, including study guides for "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." He has also authored more than 100 critical biographies of authors and musicians for Gale Research's Contemporary Literary Criticism and Contemporary Musicians reference-book series. He was managing editor of The Heartland Institute's InfoTech & Telecom News from 2010-2012. Prior to that, he was manager of communications for the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. He also served from 2006-2011 as editor of Michigan Science, a quarterly Mackinac Center publication. Walker has served as an adjunct professor of literature and academic writing at University of Detroit Mercy. For the past five years, he has authored a weekly column for the mid-Michigan Morning Sun newspaper. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University. He is the father of two daughters and currently lives in Flint, Mich., with his wife Katherine.