In a rush back to the dark ages, it looks as if Pope Francis will be siding with the world’s left-wing nuts as he hosts a Vatican summit this summer that will lay poverty, inequality and other social ills at the feet of global warming. The summit will focus on the links between poverty, economic development and global warming with speeches by left-wing environmentalist, religious leaders and economists, accompanied by Socialist Ban Ki-moom who will deliver the opening address.
Vatican officials, who have spent more than a year helping Francis prepare his message, have convened several meetings already on the topic with several top Vatican officials claiming that fossil fuels is disrupting earth on an “almost unfathomable scale.” Just last month they met with freedom’s worst enemy, Gina McCarthy of EPA fame.
On April 27, 90 individuals to date, Ph.d’s of Geophysics, Climatology Physics, Meteorology , Math, Earth Sciences, Medicine, Economics, religious leaders, environmental organizations, along with former employees of U.S. agencies penned an open letter to Pope Francis raising matters of concern about his endorsement of the global warming scam. You can read the letter in its entirety at this link.
As people of biblical faith, we have a commitment not only to truth but also to the practice of science as one path to truth. Today, when scientists run complex climate models on powerful computers to simulate immeasurably more complex natural systems like the earth’s climate, we must not forget our commitment to truth or that “key to science.”
Alongside good science there must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor. Today, many prominent voices call humanity a scourge on our planet, saying that man is the problem, not the solution. Naively claiming that “the science is settled,” they demand urgent action to protect the planet from catastrophic, human-induced global warming. Attributing allegedly unnatural warming to the use of fossil fuels to obtain energy essential for human flourishing, these voices demand that people surrender their God-given dominium, even if doing so means remaining in or returning to poverty.
Your concern for genuine science and for the poor requires a more cautious approach, one that carefully considers the scientific evidence regarding the real, not merely the theoretical, effects of human action on global climate, and carefully considers energy technology and economics in seeking to protect the poor from harm.
Severe poverty, widespread hunger, rampant disease, and short life spans were the ordinary condition of humankind until the last two and a half centuries. What has delivered much of humanity from absolute material poverty is a combination of moral, social, political, scientific, and technological institutions. These include science and technology grounded on a view of the physical world as an ordered cosmos that rational creatures can understand and harness for human betterment: private property rights, entrepreneurship, and widespread trade, protected by the rule of law, enforced by limited and responsive governments, and abundant, affordable, reliable energy generated from high-density, portable, constantly accessible fossil and nuclear fuels.
Wind and solar energy, because of their higher costs and lower efficiency, account for only a few percent of total global energy use. Fossil fuels, because of their lower costs and higher efficiency, account for over 85%. Substituting low density, intermittent energy sources like wind and solar for high-density constant energy sources like fossil fuels would be catastrophic to the world’s poor, by raising the cost and reducing the reliability and availability of energy, especially electricity. This, in turn, would raise the cost of all other goods and services, since all require energy to produce and transport. It would slow the rise of the poor out of poverty. It would threaten to return millions of others to poverty. And it would make electricity grids unstable, leading to more frequent and widespread, costly and often fatal, brownouts and blackouts, events mercifully rate in wealthy countries but all too familiar to billions of people living in countries without comprehensive, stable electric grids supplied by stable fossil or nuclear fuels.
The poorest in developing world who on average spend two or more times as much of their incomes on energy as the middle class, will lose access to decent housing, education, health care, and more as their energy costs rise. Some will freeze to death because they will be unable to pay their electricity bills and still buy food. Tens of thousands died even in the United Kingdom in several recent winters due to Britain’s rush to substitute wind and solar for coal to generate electricity.
While the computer climate models exaggerate the warming effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide, they plausibly simulate that greater economic development driven by growing use of fossil fuels will add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Working Group 3, of the U.N. IPCC found that the warmest scenarios for the future are also the richest, especially for those societies that are now the poorest.
The risks of poverty and misguided energy policies that would prolong it far outweigh the risks of climate change. Adequate wealth enables humans to thrive in a wide array of climates, hot and cold, wet or dry. Poverty undermines human thriving even in the very best of climates. It follows that reducing fossil fuel use means reducing economic development, condemning poor societies to remain poor, and requiring poor people of today to sacrifice for the sake of richer people of the future – a clear injustice.
We believe it is both unwise and unjust to adopt policies requiring reduced use of fossil fuels for energy. Such policies would condemn hundreds of millions to ongoing poverty. We respectfully appeal to you to advise the world’s leaders to reject them.