EcoLinks 09.23.15
Acton Institute Powerblog

EcoLinks 09.23.15

Toward a better understanding of religion and global affairs
John Kerry, The National Catholic Review

In June, Pope Francis’ historic encyclical “Laudato Si’” helped advocate for global measures to combat climate change. Religious advocacy groups have long raised awareness about famine and human rights violations abroad; Buddhist nuns in Nepal play a crucial role in natural disaster recovery efforts; and religious organizations have been essential to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees.

Pope Francis’ Arrival in the U.S. Is a Low-Key Prelude to Pageantry
Peter Baker, Azam Ahmed and Jim Yardley, The New York Times

Even as Newsweek asked on its cover, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Francis rejected the notion that he is an anticapitalist leftist not committed enough to church teachings. “I have never said anything that is not in the social doctrine of the church,” he said, alluding to provocative speeches on the excesses of capitalism. “Maybe some things sounded slightly leftish, but that would be the wrong interpretation.”

House Democrats Ask Pope Francis To Address Ways To Combat Climate Change

“Pope Francis, we hope you will address climate chante, and talk about how it especially hurts lower-income communities andthe most vulnerable among us:” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, IL 9th District.

Misplaced Concern: Pope Francis’s Energy Agenda
Myron Bell, The Daily Caller

“Everybody loves Pope Francis” for his “humble ways and inclusive message,” blared the Washington Post Express’ front page headline. That “everybody” includes American progressives, who plan to use the pope’s wild popularity to advance their political agenda during his upcoming visit to the United States. Does that mean progressive policies advance Christian values? Not at all. In fact, policies that encourage developing countries to invest in the most expensive and unreliable sources of electricity, such as wind and solar, and close down the most affordable — fossil fuels — would negatively effect the world’s poorest by hindering their access to reliable, affordable energy.

What Americans Think of Pope Francis and His Policies
The Barna Group

Francis has made climate change and global warming a priority for his papacy, and it appears that he is making an impact. Just after poverty and social issues, the Pope scores the second-highest “right stance” on this issue (41%). The Pope’s stance on the environment also garnered the highest amounts of adults who claim he is “too conservative” on the issue (15% among all adults) and the lowest amount who claim he is “too liberal” (12% of all adults).

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Protector of the Planet?
Eric Holthaus, Slate

A recent poll showed climate change is the most important issue for the world’s poorest countries, and for good reason: On our current course, we’re locking in several decades of rapid environmental change, and the world’s poor stand to bear the brunt of the damages. Francis knows this. In fact, he understands the urgency of climate change perhaps better than any other world leader. In his climate encyclical earlier this year, Francis framed climate change as a key human rights issue and called for a radical transformation of global politics and wasteful high-consuming lifestyles.

The Power, and the Limits, of Pope Francis’ Climate Message
Alan Neuhauser, U.S. News & World Report

His timing may prove canny. By arriving roughly five months before the first presidential primary, three months before a major U.N. summit on climate change and three months after issuing the Vatican’s first-ever encyclical on the environment, some say Francis hopes to add considerable moral force to the movement to slow climate change – and, perhaps, judgment on those who deny warming even exists.

Democrats hopeful pope’s visit will end climate change denial in Congress
Suzanne Goldenberg and Dan Roberts, The Guardian

Pope Francis’s arrival in Washington on Tuesday has reinforced hopes that one of the last great bastions of climate change denial – the US Congress – may be on the verge of crumbling.

The top five things Pope Francis gets totally right about climate change
Chelsea Harvey, The Washington Post

While the pope has made his concern about human-caused climate change known on numerous occasions, his position was largely summed up in his second encyclical, “Laudato Si,” released earlier this summer — a document that made headlines around the world for being the first papal encyclical based entirely around environmental issues. Now, as Pope Francis makes his way through Washington, New York City and Philadelphia, climate activists are expecting a reaffirmation of his commitment to environmental issues and to climate action in particular.

Pope Francis and the IPCC: can technology mitigate climate change?
Jack Karsten and Darrell M. West, Brookings Institute

The IPCC published its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in November 2014. Both AR5 and the Pope’s encyclical stress the importance of technology in mitigating climate change, yet also warn that technological innovation will not be enough to prevent the consequences of climate change without corresponding social and political impetus.

Pope’s concern about climate change prompts Notre Dame to end use of coal
Maureen Groppe, USA Today

The University of Notre Dame will stop burning coal for electricity in response to Pope Francis’ call to action on climate change, the school’s president announced Monday. The Rev. John I. Jenkins also said Notre Dame will cut its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030.

Pope Francis will confront politics on U.S. visit
John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun

At the same time, Pope Francis used a 184-page encyclical in June to blame humans for climate change, a move that gave Democrats cheer and put some conservative Republicans on the defensive. At least one of them, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, has said he will skip the pope’s speech Thursday in protest.

Should the Pope Weigh in on the Climate Change Debate?
Paul Misner, History News Network

As Pope Francis visits the United States of America for the first time, the issue of climate change and whether a churchman has anything religious and relevant to say about it is in the forefront of attention. Francis has taken an unmistakable stand in favor of confronting the challenge of the man-made threat to our environment and our human habitat in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’. Obviously there is something newsworthy today in addressing the world “On Care for Our Common Home,” as the title runs. In a historical context, though, when papal advocacy in regard to social issues is mentioned, the first thing that springs to my mind is not ecology, but economy: the rights of wage laborers. Running through both areas is the ethical issue of respecting the human dignity of persons in society.

US Catholic groups debate divesting from fossil fuels
Amadou Diallo, Al Jazeera

Not everyone interprets Francis’ encyclical on the environment as a call for divestment. “The pope has called for us to continue to seek alternative fuel sources that are cleaner burning,” said Bruce Walker, a writer for the Acton Institute, a group advocating free-market principles for religious leaders. “But you can’t just flip a switch and all of a sudden … replace the energy from fossil fuels. We need the whole portfolio [of fossil fuels] until some type of renewable energy source is viable for everyone at a low cost.”

A Skeptic’s Guide To The Papal Visit
Rachel Lu, The Federalist

Conservatives nowadays are somewhat cranky with Pope Francis, usually (in my opinion) for fairly silly reasons. They’re mad about his economics or his environmental ideas, or perhaps about some random off-hand remark concerning firearms or free speech. Everybody’s got a beef. That being the case, the balance of the coverage will likely be overladen with snark.

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.