Top U.S. Scientist: Pope’s Climate Push Is ‘Raving Nonsense’ Without Population Control
Without detracting from the moral significance of the pope’s message, a leading U.S. scientist has pointed out that the pontiff’s call for action on climate change is meaningless without a corollary call to limit the size of the human population.
In his encyclical on preserving the environment, “Laudato Si,” Francis explicitly rejected the idea of population growth as a strain on global resources. “Demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” he wrote. “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”
The Guardian reports:
In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change, Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, argues that Pope Francis is simply wrong in trying to fight climate change without also addressing the additional strain on global resources from population rise. “That’s raving nonsense,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “He is right on some things but he is just dead wrong on that.”
The critique in “Society and the Pope’s encyclical”, part of a special package from scientists on the encyclical, marked a rare note of dissent from scientists and campaigners. Many hope that the pope will drive home his call to action on poverty and the environment in his speech to Congress on Thursday.
Ehrlich, in his Nature Climate Change commentary, accuses Francis of a dangerous flaw in his indictment of consumerism and its effects on the poor and the environment. The pope had fallen for the usual clerical “obsession” with contraception and abortion – when he could have instead broken new ground on the Catholic church’s approaches to women’s reproductive rights and family planning. …
Those thrilled by the pope’s intervention on climate change – and Ehrlich counts himself among them – were troubled by Francis’s refusal to countenance the need to limit population, the scientist said. “It is crystal clear. No one concerned with the state of the planet and the state of the global economy can avoid dealing with population. It is the elephant in the room,” he said.
The global population, now over 7 billion, is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 according to U.N. models.
“There is no competent scientist who would say there is not a problem with population growth. In other words, the pope is dead wrong. Here he is following an antique doctrine that it is impossible to change,” Ehrlich said. “I am sure he knows better, he is not a dope.”
Read more here.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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