The Pope's View of the Environment Will Hurt the Poor
There is almost no arena of public debate today in which science is more ignored than in the debate over global warming. Unfortunately, the pope has fallen into the same trap that President Obama and modern environmentalists have fallen into, choosing fear over fact and hysteria over history.
His views on climate change, to be released in a 182-page encyclical this week, will only hurt the poor, the very people he is trying to help. The crying need of the poor around the world is for inexpensive and available energy for the purposes of heating and cooling, hygiene, health, and food preparation.
The only current source of that kind of energy is fossil fuel energy. Yet the pope’s misguided recommendations will make that kind of energy less accessible, more expensive, and will doom the world’s poor to a continued hardscrabble existence.
I do not fault the pope’s motives. He truly wants to help the poor. But because he has his climate science wrong, he will only hurt the very people he is trying to help.
His recommendations, if followed, will take a particularly devastating toll on the world’s children. Because they have no access to fossil fuel energy, hundreds of millions of people in the world, with no other alternative, cook food by burning dung in enclosed spaces, leading to enormous respiratory problems among children.
The pope is making man the boogeyman. Man, according to his anti-science views, is heating the earth to dangerous levels through carbon emissions. CO2 emissions must be reduced, he says, to keep man from burning up our fragile planet.
He could not be more wrong. For openers, CO2 is not even a pollutant. I repeat, CO2 IS NOT A POLLUTANT. It is plant food. It is the gas of life required by all living and growing things, which absorb CO2, use it to grow, and then release life-giving oxygen into the atmosphere in return. Environmentalists are growing less concerned by the day about the world’s rainforests because the increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are bringing them back. CO2 is our friend. The more of it in our world, the better.
It is currently found at only about 400 parts per million in our atmosphere. To put that to scale, imagine a football stadium that seats 100,000 people. CO2 concentrations would be represented by exactly forty people out of that entire crowd. We are simply not awash in dangerous levels of CO2, not even close.
The more CO2, the more plant life. Plants grow faster and more vigorously, increasing the availability of food for the world’s poor. What do greenhouse operators do to increase productivity? Why, they pump CO2 into their greenhouses because there isn’t enough in the atmosphere for maximum growth.
The optimum concentration level for maximum plant growth is around 1500 parts per million. It will be millennia at current rates before we even approach optimal concentration levels. No, carbon emissions are not a problem, and it is exceedingly unfortunate that the pope has been misundereducated, to coin a word, to believe that they are.
Furthermore, he is trying to solve a non-existent problem. Satellite data reveals that there has been no global warming - as in zip, nada, zilch - for 18 years and six months. Over half of the satellite record, which started in 1979, demonstrates that the earth is not in fact warming at all.
A new study, released this week and based on the most reliable temperature reading stations, reveals the exact opposite, that the United States has been experiencing a decade-long cooling trend. Russians scientists are suggesting that, due to diminished solar activity, we could be in for 30 to 40 years of global cooling, making the need for inexpensive energy even more critical for the most unfortunate among us.
The pope means well, but in this case the path to hurting the world’s poor is paved with good intentions. Let’s hope and pray that the pope will grow in his understanding of science and agriculture in time to reverse course and use the considerable influence of the Church on behalf of the poor instead of against them.