Pope Francis made news again lately with comments about the environment, particularly global warming. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s learned nothing since he released his promising but deeply flawed encyclical Laudato Si’ in June of last year.
Speaking of global warming, the Pope said, “This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events. Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact.”
Three claims, three problems:
- There are no upward trends in droughts, floods, precipitation, wildfires, or extreme weather that can be linked with any reasonable degree of confidence to global warming, or particularly to humanity’s contribution to it. Though computer climate models written by climate alarmist scientists might predict that such would come from warming, the data, whether short-term or long-term, don’t line up with the theory.
- There is no correlation between trends in local or regional temperature, precipitation, or storminess and refugee flows—e.g., in the Caribbean, Syria, and south Pacific islands (despite embarrassing claims to the contrary). Refugee flows are driven by local and regional strife, which is driven overwhelmingly by political and military conflict rooted in ideology and decades- to centuries-long ethnic and cultural conflicts.
- The poor are more vulnerable than others to every kind of risk precisely because they are poor. Poverty is a much greater risk than anything related to climate. Wealth protects against every kind of risk. But the policies the Pope embraces to reduce manmade global warming would keep the poor poor, and therefore at higher risk, for generations to come.
In short, Pope Francis is wrong, wrong, wrong. This shouldn’t be surprising. He has no particular expertise in the science, engineering, or economics of climate and energy. Even Roman Catholic dogma claims for the Pope no special authority in matters other than faith (doctrine) and morals.