EcoLinks 09.25.15
Acton Institute Powerblog

EcoLinks 09.25.15

Pope Francis tells Congress: Be Courageous, Do Something about Climate Change
Zoe Schlanger, Newsweek

In his address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress Thursday morning, Pope Francis minced no words when it came to climate change. Referencing his recent influential encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, the pope called on the United States to make a “courageous and responsible effort” to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”

Pope’s climate push hits wall in Congress
Andrew Restuccia and Darren Goode, Politico

“There is no doubt that all of us are called to be good stewards of the environment,” said presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “The dispute is what the science and evidence demonstrate. That ultimately is a debate that should be had in the halls of Congress based on facts and based on evidence.”

As a scientist, is the pope dodging the biggest contributor to climate change?
Nsikan Akpan, PBS

Yet the Pope’s policy stops short of addressing a major contributor to man-made climate change: population control. “Every person that we add to the planet increases the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere, so population growth is one of the great drivers of climate change, said Stanford University conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich. “If we keep the population growing, it seems highly likely that the climate problem will get totally out of control.”

A Social Scientist, a Climate Change Physicist, and Pope Francis Walk Into a Bar…
Francie Diep, Pacific Standard

The journal, which normally publishes physics and geology studies on global warming, is doing something unusual this week: It’s released a series of essays by social scientists analyzing and critiquing Pope Francis’ so-called “climate change encyclical.” The encyclical, formally titled “Laudato Si,” was released in June. In the text, Francis urges Catholics to act quickly on climate change out of a moral obligation to care for the Earth and the world’s poor, who are expected to bear the brunt of a warmer world’s ill effects. During his visit to the United States this week, Francis has re-iterated many of the encyclical’s points, saying things like, “It seems clear to me, also, that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation.”

Pope Francis Starts U.S. Visit Addressing Climate Change
Brian Kahn, Climate Central

The remarks kick off a six-day visit to the U.S. — Pope Francis’s first time here — that includes speeches in front of a joint session of Congress and the United Nations General Assembly and highlight a continuing commitment to make climate change a central issue of his papacy.

Debating the Pope: Social Scientists Engage Pope’s Call for Climate Change Dialogue in Top Journal

Ecologists Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, and John Harte, a professor at University of California – Berkeley, argue that Pope Francis overlooks the stresses a burgeoning population will put on the world’s resources. “Pope Francis needs to heed his own comments on the Church’s ‘obsession’ with contraception and abortion, and assume a leadership position in support of women’s rights and family planning”, otherwise “there is little chance that the existential challenge facing humanity will be met.”

Science and religion in dialogue over the global commons
Ottma Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland & Brigette Knopf, Nature Climate Change

The Pope’s encyclical makes unprecedented progress in developing scientific dialogue with religion by drawing on research, and encouraging further discussion about the ethical challenge of governing the global commons.

The Pope’s fateful vision of hope for society and the planet
Robert J. Brulle & Robert J. Antonio, Nature Climate Change

The Pope’s encyclical challenges incremental approaches that have dominated climate change discourse, and brings a much needed moral vision to the environmental movement. Social scientists are required to join this effort.

A day of firsts: Pope Francis’ visit to Washington
Alan Zarembo and Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times

While praising Obama for efforts to reduce air pollution, he said much more action is needed to protect the Earth for those who will inherit it. Invoking Martin Luther King Jr., he said: “We can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”

Pope Francis uses U.S. trip to shine a light on climate change
Juli McDonald, WWLP

Pope Francis said the focus on climate change is critical; it’s a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation. Francis wrote about the care of our common home in his encyclical released back in May.

What Scientists Think About the Pope’s Climate Message
Stephanie Pappas, Live Science

A series of editorials published today in the journal Nature Climate Change applaud the pope’s in-depth missive for his calls for collective action on warming temperatures, which are driven by fossil-fuel combustion. The encyclical was a “decisive democratic act,” wrote Anabela Carvalho, a communication sciences professor at the University of Minho in Portugal. It was “passionate and compelling,” added Stanford University ecologist Paul Ehrlich and University of California, Berkeley environmental scientist John Harte in their co-authored editorial.

As pope arrives, Del. religious leaders target climate change
Jeff Montgomery, Delaware News Journal

A multifaith group in Wilmington on Wednesday convened the first of two vigils focused on climate change and what participants said is a public moral duty to address the causes of global warming and its dangers. Delaware Interfaith Power, one of 40 such state groups nationwide, organized the sessions outside First & Central Presbyterian Church near Rodney Square. Organizers said the event was timed to coincide with Pope Francis’s arrival in the United States, and with Yom Kippur, a time when members of the Jewish faith fast and seek forgiveness.

Faith leaders gather to reflect on Pope Francis’ stance on climate change
Eli Chen, Delaware Public Media

“In religious terms, a vigil is a time when we stay awake when we otherwise would go to sleep,” began Reverend Martha Kirkpatrick from the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. “Pope Francis’ encyclical has awakened us to the deep dysfunction in our relationship with the Earth.” Along with Kirkpatrick, the First Unitarian Church, the Islamic Society of Delaware, among others were represented at the event. Members of each organization stressed how crucial it is to pay attention to the changing environment and recognize how underprivileged populations are suffering the most from these changes. Some shared old passages to illuminate how deeply ingrained environmental values are in their religion. “As the prophet Muhammad was purported to have said, ‘The world is green and pleasant thing. God has made you stewards of it and looks at how you behave,’” said Ahmed Sharkawy from the Islamic Society of Delaware. Each speaker reflected on how Pope Francis’ June environmental encyclical was a call to action for everyone, regardless of religion. Mary Bauer from St. Catherine of Siena Church, a Catholic institution, found the Pope’s message unusual, but inspiring. “Since we’ve often only heard from popes and bishops in terms of theological issues, this was a very refreshing way of saying this is a moral issue, not a theological issue, so I was very pleased,” said Bauer. As the faith leaders gave their talks, petitions to support environmental causes were passed around. At the vigil’s conclusion, the attendants lit candles and recited a prayer.

Biophysical limits, women’s rights and the climate encyclical
Paul R. Ehrlich & John Harte, Nature Climate Change

The Pope has made a strong call for action on climate change, but it fails to address the complex linkages between sustainable development and demographic growth.

Pope Francis’ Address to Congress May Not Have Been What ‘Climate Justice’ Activists Were Hoping For
Stephanie Slade, Reason

[N]owhere … does the pope lay out a concrete program of policy reforms he wants enacted. He says we should be trying to “redirect our steps,” but he isn’t specific about what that might involve. He talks about the need for “actions and strategies” but doesn’t describe for us what they might be.

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.