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Pope Francis’ Summer Summit on Climate Change; Conservatives’ Alarmed


This summer, Pope Francis will deliver an encyclical about the harm humans have caused to the environment and the impact on the poor.

It is no secret that Pope Francis has huge concerns about climate change, and has set himself as a leading voice in the Catholic community, and around the world, on the subject.

Vatican officials hosted a summit meeting to prep for the campaign. The meeting was announced to cover the link between climate change and poverty, as well as its links to economic development. Religious leaders (Cardinal Peter Turkson), along with economists (Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs) and climate scientists attended the meeting.

Pope Francis will be encouraging other leaders to do the same and enact the climate change accord in Paris this December. It would put laws into action that would cut the emissions that are released. Along with the encyclical, Francis is preparing a 12-week campaign with the help of some Catholic bishops. He plans to talk about climate change and caring for the environment, through homilies, media, interviews, sermons and letters, according to the Catholic Climate Covenant in Washington’s executive director, Dan Misleh.

What do others say?

However, just as many people disagree and dislike the climate change focus. Maureen Mullarkey, a writer/painter, has said that the pope “sullies his office by using demagogic formulations to bully the populace into reflexive climate action with no more substantive guide than theologized propaganda.” One man (incorrectly) said that there has never been a pope doing “anything like this. No single individual has as much global sway as he does.” However, many popes have taken similar stances, albeit not quite in the same way. Pope Benedict XVI wrote documents on climate change, and how it has affected everything. You can find these in a book, The Environment.

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, has been a part of the forces trying to get Paris to accept the accord. He attended the summit to deliver the opening address. He shared his concerns during the December climate change summit in Paris, and has a website that addresses his stances on global warming. His advisor, Janos Pasztor, expects this to be the most important statement this year about environmental health. Charles J. Reid Jr., professor of St. Thomas School of Law, feels that this “moves the needle. Benedict was an ivory-tower academic. He wrote books and hoped they would persuade by reason. But Pope Francis knows how to sell his ideas.” Francis may have the most influence in Latin America, who have begun to reconsider their stance on climate change.


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