Pope’s Climate Activism has Heartland Climate Deniers Panicking

April 25, 2015

burnethIn anticipation of the upcoming Papal encyclical (declaration) on climate change, the anti-science “think” tank Heartland Institute will be sending a delegation to the Vatican, they claim, to “educate” Pope Francis about climate change. Perhaps the famously pro-tobacco activists will educate him about the safety of tobacco products as well.


A US activist group that has received funding from energy companies and the foundation controlled by conservative activist Charles Koch is trying to persuade the Vatican that “there is no global warming crisis” ahead of an environmental statement by Pope Francis this summer that is expected to call for strong action to combat climate change.

Scripps Institute of Oceanography:

Scripps climate and atmospheric scientist V. Ramanathan meets with Pope Francis on May 6 (2014). Ramanathan, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 2004, co-convened a historic workshop of that academy and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, on society’s responsibility to preserve nature. Ramanathan said he used the opportunity to draw the Pope’s attention to the fact that the 3 billion of the world’s poorest people who do not use fossil fuels to meet their energy needs will nonetheless suffer the worst consequences of climate change. The encounter took place on the final day of the May 2-6 workshop.

popescientistHeadvise alert below.

Heartland Institute: (no I won’t give them a link):

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Roman Catholic Church is holding a workshop on global warming on April 28, 2015 at the Vatican. This website provides articles and links about global warming and the workshop, so you can tell Pope Francis: Global warming is not a crisis!

Faith in Action

Many people of faith who are familiar with the science and economics of climate change are worried this event will become a platform for alarmism over a controversial scientific issue. Scientists are unsure how large the human impact on climate is and whether there is anything mankind can do to affect climate. There is no scientific “consensus” on whether there is any need to reduce mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But alarmists claim the “science is settled” and denounce anyone who disagrees as “deniers.” They call for drastic reductions in fossil fuel consumption, or even no consumption at all.

Most people agree that safeguarding creation – and being a good steward of the environment – is a high moral obligation. If human activity posed a genuine threat to the world’s climate, then some action would be appropriate. But global warming alarmists wave off any evidence that the threat is small or even nonexistent, and they call for policies that would shut down virtually all economic activity around the world. These unnecessary policies would cause the suffering and even death of billions of people. All people of faith should rise up in opposition to such policies.


Certain persons currently scheduled to speak at the workshop, including UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, are outspoken advocates of the man-made global warming hypothesis. They and other climate alarmists have misrepresented the facts, concocted false data, and tried to shut down a reasonable, scientific debate on the issue of climate change. This conduct violates the Eighth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”


As the world celebrates Earth Day on Wednesday, Pope Francis is planning to use one of the highest forms of papal expression — an encyclical — to promote climate action to save the planet as a moral and religious imperative.

In recent weeks, Vatican officials have outlined what the document will say and are choreographing its release — perhaps as early as June — for maximum global impact beyond the Roman Catholic Church’s 1.2 billion members.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who chairs a panel dealing with environmental issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the encyclical has “gone to the translators, so it’s at the end of its birthing process.”

First on the promotional agenda is an April 28 Vatican conference where United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon will be a keynote speaker. The goal is to advance the morality argument that is a theme of the encyclical.


18 Responses to “Pope’s Climate Activism has Heartland Climate Deniers Panicking”

  1. neilrieck Says:

    Good luck to American science deniers trying to educate the pope and Vatican Catholics. Jesuits (the current pope is one) always stood at the forefront of scientific education. Many claim there would have been no trial of Galileo had the Jesuits been in control of the Vatican rather than the Dominicans. Many people today do not know that it was a Jesuit-educated Catholic priest by the name of Georges Lemaître who first proposed the concept now called the Big Bang after analyzing the mathematics behind Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The Catholic church is still responsible for running more astronomical observatories than any other organization including NASA. What will make most American bible-thumpers mental is that Roman Catholicism officially recognizes evolution as a natural mechanism of god -and- that the world is much older than 6,000 years

    • jpcowdrey Says:

      ” Many claim there would have been no trial of Galileo had the Jesuits been in control of the Vatican rather than the Dominicans.”

      I don’t know who those many are, but Galileo got in trouble for criticizing the Jesuit defense of the Ptolemaic model of the solar system presented by Cardinal Bellamine, and as exemplified by Simplicio in “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, and as a result of forged documents attributed to Bellamine, contradicting Galileo’s own copy of Bellamine’s permission to publish “Dialogue”. Had the Jesuits been in charge of the Inquisition and not the Dominicans, Galileo would have probably burned rather than sentenced to house arrest.

      Regardless, Galileo’s troubles stemmed, not so much because of his scientific views, but because he became a political pawn in a dispute by Spanish cardinals over the conduct of the 35 Year War, undermining the authority of the Pope.

      • neilrieck Says:

        While it is a fact that Cardinal Bellarmine was a Jesuit, that order represented a minority in the college of cardinals in that theocracy; but it is true that not all Jesuits were of like mind on this topic (reminds me how the Heartland Institute can find scientists to support “their view”, but I digress). Pope Paul 5 (lawyer) kicked off the whole thing which passed through the Jesuit-educated Gregory 15 then ended up in the hands of Jesuit-educated Urban 8. Today many are uncertain if U8 (also originally of Pisa) was able to ensure that Galileo was not put to death, or, perhaps Galileo was just too popular to be put to death via “The Inquisition”. I attended a lecture on this topic a few years back where the presenter claimed: once Galileo had dug a hole for himself, his defense only made the hole deeper. While the 1610 book “Sidereus Nuncius” might have been interpreted by the Vatican as the fight for world views (especially since he did not get Vatican pre-approval to publish which was required at the time by all book publishers), the 1632 “Dialog” featured a character named “Simplicio” who defended the position of the church. Apparently this was interpreted by the majority of the church as being labelled “simpletons”. But all these points are moot because the current pope is the first Jesuit in that position and he won’t be taking advice from North American science-deniers.

  2. tractorCQ Says:

    I like this pope and this topic.

    “Most people agree that safeguarding creation – and being a good steward of the environment – is a high moral obligation.”

    Most people where? I find the concept of stewardship, especially in a moral/spiritual light quite rare in my little world. But yes, in the online world, it looks to me like the global contexts are finally merging thanks to multiple pathways into legitimate, civil dialogue and honest public discourse in spite of the talking heads and the bully pulpit.

    Thanks for the beautiful illustrations and thoughtful dialogue.

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    And here the Koch brothers have just run into an institution that actually has a lot more money than they do. Bye bye leverage.

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    Heartland: “Scientists are unsure how large the human impact on climate is” I’ve been reading the book “Climate Shock” by Wagner and Weitzman, about economically assessing climate damages, and they put this uncertainty this way: “the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates [we’ll reach]… 700ppm by 2100… unless major emitters take drastic additional steps… [meanwhile, the climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is]…what’s now called the “likely” range of 1.5 to 4.5 C still stands [after 35 years]… IPCC defines “likely”… [as] a 66% chance… [hence] the chance of being outside that range… [is] 34%… take the IEA’s interpretation of current government policy commitments at face value… [and, thus, we’ll hit 700ppm by 2100]. Here’s what you get: about a 10% chance of eventual temperatures EXCEEDING 6C, unless the world acts much more decisively than it has.” For reference, 3C is about as far as economists are comfortable tallying the damages from climate change. Above 3C “thar be dragons”. A 6C rise is an extinction event, for sure, that would probably include us.

    Basically, at our current 400ppm, the chance of eventually exceeding 6C is 0.04%. That chance increases by a factor of ONE HUNDRED if we hit 560ppm (which is by now all but certain by 2050). It then TRIPLES again if we hit 700ppm, to above 10%. Think about why people buy Fire Insurance and the likelihood of ever needing it. Heartland’s claim of ‘scientific uncertainty’ works completely AGAINST its argument. It argues for MORE caution, not less, on this issue.

    Put another way, at 560ppm (which we are definitely going to hit by mid-century), there is a 4% chance of completely destroying our civilization. Why would any sane civilization take that risk?

    • Sure, OK.

      But more likely than not we won’t go extinct – at least until after our grandchildren realize that they won’t be getting the Social Security benefits they were counting on.

      And 4% is only one in 25 anyway. Why wouldn’t 7 billion people get on a plane that’s going to make it safely 24 out 25 times?

      • dumboldguy Says:

        “And 4% is only one in 25 anyway. Why wouldn’t 7 billion people get on a plane that’s going to make it safely 24 out 25 times?”

        That’s not the way risk statistics work. 4% is actually a pretty high risk rate.
        For comparison, the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident are about 1 in 20,000+ trips, and for planes the odds are about 1 in 29,000,000 flights.

        About 3.3 billion people flew in 2014 on 37 million flights. A 4% crash rate would have resulted in 1,480,000 crashes and 130,000,000+ deaths in 2014.

        Still like a 1 in 25 chance?

        • John Scanlon Says:

          At 4% chance of catastrophe, it’s perceived as a risk you only run once. One planet, one life each; people DO frequently take those sorts of odds with their own lives and fortunes (e.g. they start businesses, or start to climb Everest). Obviously airlines and pilots don’t, so your analogy fails.

    • 403 ppm and counting. This month its been hovering around 404 ppm and the peak is really not expected until the end of May, it might very well pass 405 ppm for a week this year.

  5. The Unabomber ad is a classic ad hominem from the right wing. Ad hominems are typical on Fox News and other right wing propaganda sources. An example of an ad hominem would be the fact that Nazi doctors were the first to identify cigarette smoking as a health hazard. Using ad hominem logic you might argue that if you believe that cigarettes are bad for your health, then you are like a Nazi doctor!

    Wasn’t the plan to put a bill board next to the Unabomber one that showed bin Laden claiming that he was a creationist. Are you?

    • It’s the classic way of thinking for a person with two neurons in their brains. Narrow minded people generally go around with blinders everywhere with how they observe the world and behave. Monkey see, monkey do. Many biologists argue that although the human brain is superior, it has likely not evolved long enough to weigh the risk of long term threats over short instant reward behaviour. As Steven Novella tells in his “Sceptical Neurologist” lecture, grown ups just have become better at disguising our monkey-brain reflex behaviour.

  6. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s just great that the folks at Heartland are becoming so frantic as their denier world collapses around them that they are going to send a delegation to “educate” the Pope!!! Lord love a duck, but that’s priceless!

    Will Russell Cook be part of the group? Will he hold up one of his books and intone “…and on page 269, there is a two word discrepancy between what Gore and Gelbspan said”?

    I hope a squad of the Swiss Guard wearing battle gear rather than costumes meets them at the gate and turns them back with a flourish of their HK SMG’s (although the thought of Russell getting poked in the butt with a halberd by a traditionally garbed Guard is a nice thought picture).

    (And can we stop with the “who would have done what to Galileo debate” already? Galileo’s relevance in the present context is to embarrass Cruz and the deniers, not the church or 5 centuries ago)

  7. […] here from the Louisville Courier Journal ia a perfect illustration of why climate deniers are freaking out about the Pope’s imminent Encyclical on Climate Change. Some of the greatest barriers to climate awareness are not the scientific ones, but emotional and […]

  8. […] the Heartland Institute effort to change the Pope’s mind on climate change did not […]

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