Pope’s Views on Climate Change
October 12, 2017
“Man is stupid, a stubborn, blind man,” as the Old Testament says, and apparently, the Pope agrees. With the recent disaster, Hurricane Irma, many have questioned the role of climate change in the barrage of storms hitting the coasts. Already, there have already been fourteen hurricanes to hit the East Coast, with the latest, Hurricane Nate, weakening to a tropical depression after hitting coasts. Although Nate marks the last of the currently formed storms, this does not guarantee the end of this fall’s hurricane season. Officially, hurricane season ends November 30th, leaving plenty more time for other hurricanes to form. This raises the question of climate change to many, including the Pope.
All of these tropical storms have several rising to the conclusion of climate change, but it remains just as controversial as ever. Pope Francis has recently taken a stance in this controversy, as he openly supports the belief in climate change and goes so far as to criticize those who oppose the idea. The Pope, a prominent figure for Christianity, has advocated for his belief on climate change since 2015, when he wrote his encyclical, Laudato Sì, but there are doubts on how big of an impact this had on Catholics.
The Pope believes in the evidence of climate change, and urges those with doubts to look at the science behind the belief. The amount of evidence that supports it is shocking. It’s theorized that for every one degree Celsius above the normal temperature, the atmosphere is able to hold 7% more water than before. In the Gulf of Mexico, the water temperature has risen an average of 1.5 degrees celsius from where it was between 1980 and 2010. Since the late 19th century, Earth’s surface temperature has risen by 1.1 degrees celsius, with the most drastic temperature rise occurring within the last 35 years.
Sixteen of the seventeen hottest days on record happened in a single year, in 2001. The warmest year on record was just a year ago, in 2016, with eight of the year’s months being the warmest on record for each of the respective months. Other signs of climate change include ocean acidification, extreme weather events – such as the hurricanes we are experiencing now – a decline in ice in the Arctic Sea, a rise in sea level, glacial retreat, a decrease in snow cover, warming of the oceans, and shrinking ice sheets.
The Pope has acknowledged these as signs of climate change and fears what will happen if it continues to be ignored. He has previously stated that allowing for climate change to go unnoticed will lead to the downfall of humans. He also worries that the impact of climate change will have a greater effect on the poorer homes worldwide.
He has been openly critical of those who choose to ignore it and refuse to do their part to aid in reducing the effects of climate change. In one statement made by Pope Francis, he was quoted saying that human nature’s propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems and our desire to control Earth’s limited resources have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. The Pope believes that we as a whole no longer respect nature as a shared gift and instead see it as a private possession. “We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs,” he concludes.
The Pope believes that everyone has a responsibility to take care of this world, but instead, humans have continued building factories and burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere, worsening the effects of drastic climate change.
With the latest disaster that was Hurricane Nate, and with the past disasters of the year, many have spoken out about the issue of climate change. Scientists have evidence supporting their theory of climate change, and yet many still doubt its existence. One thing about climate change is certain, however,– the Pope certainly believes in climate change.