PopeWatch: Green Encyclical Likely to be Worse Than Anticipated



Judging from one of the three designated presenters at the rollout of the Green Encyclical on June 18, the Encyclical appears likely to be worse than critics feared.  Rorate Caeli gives us the details:


The Vatican has just revealed in today’s Bollettino the line-up of speakers for the official presentation of the “Environment Encyclical”, Laudato Si, on June 18 at the New Synod Hall.

– Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace;

– His Eminence Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church;

– Prof. John Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


Metropolitan John, 84 years old, is the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s leading figure in ecumenical discussions and has long been close to the Catholic ecumenical establishment. However this is the first time that an Orthodox metropolitan would be officially co-presenting a papal Encyclical. There are reports that the Encyclical will draw upon the teaching of Patriarch Bartholomew (whose interest in environmental issues is well known) and that there was even a proposal — which proved to be “not possible” — that the Encyclical be jointly promulgated by both the Pope and the Patriarch. 
Perhaps of far greater interest to most of our readership would be the presence of Prof. Schellnhuber on the panel. The father of the “two-degree target” to stave off global warming, he is the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany (which is funded by the German government), Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was one of the experts (alongside Jeffrey Sachs) tapped by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to write their joint statement on climate change published in April of this year, titled “Climate change and the common good: a statement of the problem and the demand for transformative solutions”. A description of the final document’s call for a “zero-carbon world” can be found here; the final published version seems to have been removed from the official website Pontifical Academy of Sciences, but to our knowledge has never been retracted.

In the words of the New York Times, Schellnhuber is “known for his aggressive stance on climate policy” and famously declared in 2009 that the “carrying capacity” of the Earth is less than one billion people:

A scientist known for his aggressive stance on climate policy made an apocalyptic prediction on Thursday.  

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said that if the buildup of greenhouse gases and its consequences pushed global temperatures 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today — well below the upper temperature range that scientists project could occur from global warming — Earth’s population would be devastated. 


“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, who has advised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate policy and is a visiting professor at Oxford.

 At that temperature, there would be “no fluctuations anymore, we can be fairly sure,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, exercising his characteristically dark sense of humor at the morning plenary session on the closing day of an international climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

He is also known for his intense advocacy of rapid de-industrialization in order to stave off global warming. A 2009 article quotes him as follows:

Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070.

“Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless,” John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the conference.

Schellnhuber recently briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration, but he says they chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this”.

He had told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have an even chance of stabilising the climate around two degrees C.

China’s emissions must peak by 2020 and then go to zero by 2035 based on the current science, he added.

“Policymakers who agreed to a two-degree C goal at the G20 summit easily fool themselves about what emission cuts are needed,” Schellnhuber said.

Last but not the least he is an advocate of a very real form of “World Government”, also in the name of defeating the climate crisis. His ideas are laid out in “Expanding the Democracy Universe“, where among other things he discusses his dream of an Earth Constitution, a Global Council elected by the people of the whole world, and a Planetary Court with jurisdiction over the whole world and with the power to penalize violations of the “Earth Constitution”.

Go here to read the rest.  The bleakly humorous aspect of all this is that the Catholic higher clergy, by and large, have been doing a lousy job in areas where they purportedly have expertise for the past half century:  the Faith is moribund in Europe, in South America the Church is being bled by the rapid progress of Evangelicals and the problems of the Church in the US are too well known to readers of TAC to need reciting here.  The fecklessness with which the Church has been governed allowed an influx of homosexual priests who have done great harm to the Church during the pedophile scandal, often aided and abetted by bishops who looked the other way.  Catechesis has been a disastrous failure, and generations of Catholics are now bone ignorant of the Faith.  In short, the higher clergy have not been doing a good job in areas where we expect them to have expertise and know what they are talking about.  With this type of appalling track record since Vatican II, why should we have an ounce of trust when they decide to pronounce in areas, like climatology, where they clearly have no  expertise?  Clerics today seem to be indifferent to the fact that they are not doing the jobs they are paid to do, and eagerly climb on political bandwagons, usually leftist in nature, perhaps to attempt to conceal the fact that they are incompetent or worse when it comes to doing the tasks they have sworn to dedicate their lives to performing.

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  1. In order to control all people (the real dream of every dictator and not a few mad men) the ultimate situation is to first gather them into one controllable mass–hence, “world government.”
    The dignity of man is about to be tossed away with the whirlwind of green politics–assisted by the mantra of stewardship, even as the spiritual moral aspects of civilization and the salvation of souls become relegated to the back burner, in favor of secular/social nonsense.
    God save us all from ourselves.

  2. It is worth bearing in mind that popes and general councils are infallible when they teach definitively on a question of faith and morals; they are not infallible on questions of fact.

    Thus, the Third Ecumenical Council, the Council of Ephesus, cited in support of its definition a letter (still extant) which it ascribed to Pope St Julius, the friend of St Athanasius. It is, in fact, an extract from a writing of Timotheus, the Apollinarian, if not of the heresiarch Apollinaris himself. This, by-the-by is a salutary reminder that, whilst papal and conciliar definitions are infallible, “Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition…” (Peronne, Præl. Theol. t. 2, p. 492) and popes have no higher prerogatives than general councils.

    The condemnation of the heresies that the Second Council of Constantinople (the Fifth Ecumenical Council) ascribed to Origen is infallible; that Origen held or taught them is a piece of sententious ignorance on their part. The opinion of Pope Vigilius on the question of authorship is simply worthless; he knew little, if any Greek and relied on the information of others and it is no part of his divine mandate to determine such questions.

    We are no more bound to accept Pope Francis as an authority on climate change than we are bound to accept Pope Urban VIII’s opinions on astronomy.

  3. Obviously it is probably a while in the future….too many dictatorships still exist in the world. But a United States of Earth? That…actually sounds nice. To work, I think it would have to basically take most of the United States Constitution wholesale. I am behind this ☺. Certainly a more realistic way to end war than John Lennon’s obnoxious trite.

    It also doesn’t have to lead to the apocalypse. For one thing, it’s not anti catholic to view the book of revelation as possibly being more about timeless truths or a critique of the Roman Empire than literal, immutable prophecy. Secondly, being modeled after the United States government combined with freedom of religion and separation of faith and state clauses should keep us safe from mandated world religion.

    I personally like to hope the future will be less Left Behind and more Star Trek, with a democratic federation of humanity, armed with the fantastic tech of the future, colonizing space in a future where we might still have sin, but at least live in a materially decent future

  4. “Certainly a more realistic way to end war…..”

    Maybe you haven’t noticed what is happening in Jefferson or Baltimore? No war is needed when anarchy, for political gain, is the order of the day.
    Politics, can never replace God and bring inner peace.

  5. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Schellnhuber’s 2007 interview with Siemens Germany (for a United States subsidiary of which I had once worked) – rememeber as you read this that Dr. Schellnhuber is a tehoretical physicist and a mathematician. He is NOT a meteorologist NOR a nuclear engineer.
    Question: Are greater efficiency and renewable energy enough?
    Schellnhuber: Not on their own. In particular, we’re going to have to use carbon sequestration. That means whenever carbon is combusted, the CO2 must be captured rather than being emitted into the atmosphere. This is most effective in biomass power plants—that way, the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced. In addition, the operating life of existing nuclear power plants could be extended, since their associated dangers are low compared to those of global warming. On the other hand, their contribution to generating capacity cannot be boosted substantially without ramping up the industry to reprocess spent plutonium—or building thousands of new nuclear power plants. In my opinion, however, the gains from extending the operating life of nuclear facilities should be channeled into developing alternative energy sources.
    Dr. Schellenhuber does NOT mention that going to a thorium-232 / uranium-233 fuel cycle would provide the needed carbon-free energy for tens thousands of years. Useful reserves of thorium are 30 times more abundant that uranium. We do NOT need to go to a uranium-238 / plutonium-239 fuel cycle, and even if we did, why is that such a bad thing? People wrongly state that plutonium generation in a reactor is a weapons proliferation concern. They ignore the fact that too much non-fissile Pu-240 is generated alongside fissile Pu-239 in a reactor. Any bomb made of such fuel would “fizzle” out – it would be a militarily useless weapon. BUT all the transuranics – all the long-lived isotopes of neptunium, plutonium, americium, etc. – could be completely consumed in a fast neutron burner reactor with minimal high level “waste” (good bye, Harry Reid, and take your Yucca Mountain with you), and no weapons proliferation concern.
    The Doctor is an idiot. And if this is the kind of man upon whose advice the Pope relies, then the Pope is an idiot too. I have zero use for idiots pontificating on subjects concerning which they have ZERO technical expertise. The Pope had better be preaching against adultery, fornication, sodomy and the infanticide of the unborn. That is where the REAL environmental problem resides.
    God save us from our Pope!

  6. Donald M: How so?

    In terms of it forming, yes I expect a LONG time to pass before it even became possible. Heck, look how impossible it seems to be for Europe to form a United States of Europe. It would take till the day, either through internal rebellion and/or foreign intervention, that the last dictatorship falls (though obviously I’m making an exception for Vatican City). And even at some possible future point where liberty is triumphant at last, it’s no sure thing that you would persuade the world’s various free republics and constitutional monarchies into a federation. But that doesn’t make it literally impossible that someday you might persuade even just a good number of states to form it.

    But if someday the formation of a United States of Earth, even if only just consisting of many nations, was formed, what would be so bad? How would human nature make it have any more problems than the USA struggles with?

  7. Ahhh….I was more attentive with editing my grammer and I missed the overuse of forming! I confess I’ve been lax with grammer when posting in the past, and actually started checking it!

  8. Well-meaning but naive people seem to always be intent on reating a man-made heaven on earth, whether its some sort of revived and beneficient planetary Roman Empire or a United States of Europe or the idyllic fantasies of the green-weenie eco-wackoes with their Shangi La of twirling wind mill blades (bird choppers) and shiny solar cell mirrors (bird cookers). The Apostle Peter, howeve, tells us a very different story. God will melt the elements with fervent heat, and the heavens and the earth will be consumed with fire to make way for a new heaven and a new earth. Only God can create paradise. No man-made United States of Europe or similar sci-fi fantasy can substitute.

  9. a United States of Earth, even one armed with whatever wonders of technology we invent in the years to come, would not be a paradise. Sin would still be present, as would want and pain.

  10. Does no one read Carl Schmitt anymore?

    Schmitt, a Catholic conservative, argues that every realm of human endeavour is structured by an irreducible duality. Morality is concerned with good and evil, aesthetics with the beautiful and the ugly, and economics with the profitable and the unprofitable. In politics, the core distinction is between friend and enemy. That is what makes politics different from everything else.

    The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.”

    Of course, he denies the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions; for Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one –represents the victory of one political faction over another and is merely the temporarily stabilised result of past conflicts.

    Internal order can only be imposed as the necessary means of pursuing external conflicts. For Schmitt, a world state is impossible, for humanity has no enemy.

  11. “Donald M: How so?”

    Tower of Babel syndrome writ world wide. The United States of America was the product of very unique historical circumstances where separate polities of the British Crown were created, all enjoying the same language, except New York intially and the Pennsylvania “Dutch”, similar histories and similar government structures. Even then it was hard to make a nation out of these 13 colonies with a terrible Civil War to confirm unity less than a century after the founding. Attempts to impose such a structure on the globe would lead to endless wars and a tyrannical government. The development of such a government through voluntary cooperation can be safely relegated to the realm of Star Trek science fiction.

  12. Why do we need or even want a United States of Earth? Each indigenous people ought to be allowed to have its own unique culture and its own government as it sees fit in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. This blending of all societies into one within a grand United States of Europe would make us less diverse and all the poorer culturally. It would impoverish humanity by imposing a uniformity and a collectivism on all humanity. I say no, never. Let people in each area rule themselves as they see fit and reap the rewards of their labors as God has ordained. No planetary government ever. Anything like that will give rise not to pluralism and freedom of mankind but the dictatorship of the anti-Christ.

  13. “But if someday the formation of a United States of Earth, even if only just consisting of many nations, was formed, what would be so bad? How would human nature make it have any more problems than the USA struggles with?”

    Read Lord of the World.

  14. How could there be any doubt about what Francis is going to propose in his Green Encyclical considering his absolute devotion to Modernism which is the worship of man over and above that of God?

    Considering everything that he has written, incomprehensible and close to if not heresy, and his background, if he doesn’t come right out and proclaim that Freemasonry/Marxism and the United Nations are the last best hope for mankind, I will be surprised.

  15. A United States of Earth is a satanic phantasy, a Hell on Earth. Religion would be banned, truth deemed seditious, most of the worlds population eliminated, and the rest enslaved. Otherwise, what’s not to like. 🙁

  16. AFTER you read it, compare it to the two other benchmark encyclicals: Pacem en Terris and Progresso Populii.

  17. This story remind me of the Tower of Babel

    Up until this point, the whole world had one language – one common speech for all people. The people of the earth became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered.

    God came to see their city and the tower they were building. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this “stairway to heaven” would only lead the people away from God.

    To build, the people used brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. They used “man-made” materials, instead of more durable “God-made” materials. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.

    This Tower called the United Nations, and it is calling the people together with the Vatican’s holy encyclical that points towards the UN as the saver of man which says listen to the UN for it will save the poor from starvation, and will make peace. But it also says that Man is the means towards that peace not God for God has made a world whose weather is unstable and will do harm, because many men have sinned using the earth in a corrupt fashion that can now be made sustainable by the UN.

    Therefore there are supermen who run the world of politics and business and banking who know how to save the world from its sin, and to make a more sustainable world better than God could ever conceive of.

  18. “AFTER you read it, compare it to the two other benchmark encyclicals: Pacem en Terris and Progresso Populii.”

    Have read them and all social justice encyclicals. Of course not everything in an encyclical is infallible. I believe Paul VI prescriptions for international aid have proven quite flawed. But that does not disturb me. Infallibility does not extend to particular economic nor scientific questions.

  19. Why is this not surprising? It is unbearably embarrasing to watch this charade. Doesn’t anyone like this man enough to tell him to knock it off and go back to Argentina?

  20. I am afraid that the Pope is in danger of committing the same heresy that the Baal worshipers were guilty of, worshiping the creation more than the creator or modern day pantheism.

  21. Of the Pope’s choice of a pro-abortion Nazi wacko loon maniac to present his encyclical, the kindest interpretation is that the Pope is senile. The Pope has filled multiple posts in the Vatican with pro-abortion bishops, priests, and laymen. The hard Left is running amok.

    Pray for the Church.

  22. It’s as if In a last ditch effort to be relevant, and having forsaken the Catholic faith, the Vatican took a survey of items of interest to their progressive followers and found that climate change and income redistribution topped the list. And now having selected climate change as their mantra and wrapping it with religious significance it will be promulgated in the coming encyclical as the solemn duty of Catholics to support.

    While such utter nonsense is laughable on the surface, in reality it is a tragedy of loss of faith in Christ and the mission of His Church. We have been abandoned by our leaders. Let us pray that new and holy ones will emerge—and soon!

  23. We have the elected the first anti-American President, now a anti-Catholic Pope. Social justice is nothing more than bearing false witness, encouraging one group to covet the possessions of others, and justifying the forced redistribution of the fruits of ones labor. What is next? Perhaps re-writing scripture to fit the agenda? I look forward to hearing the story of Zachais, and h ow Jesus sought him out so he (Jesus) could apologize because his ministry had cast Zachais and his fellow public servants in a bad light. I will still pray for this Pope and for the Church but I fear he and those of a like mind are more than just misguided.

  24. Hmmm…. So should a good Catholic evaluate (for those who will object to the term “judge”) a papal encyclical in terms of the opinion of a layman (in every sense of the word) with access to a blog, or should a good Catholic evaluate the opinion of the blogger in terms of the papal encyclical? It’s quite a conundrum, at least for anyone who believes in an alternative “Magisterium of the Bloggers”. After all, why should lefties be the only ones setting up alternative magisteria? The righties can shout “Wir Sind Kirche!” just as loud!

  25. Maybe the good Catholic should attempt to use his mind rather than assuming that the Pope has any expertise in climatology?

    Hence Billuart speaking of the Pope says, “Neither in conversation, nor in discussion, nor in interpreting Scripture or the Fathers, nor in consulting, nor in giving his reasons for the point which he has defined, nor in answering letters, nor in private deliberations, supposing he is setting forth his own opinion, is the Pope infallible,” t. ii. p. 110. And for this simple reason, because on these various occasions of speaking his mind, he is not in the chair of the universal doctor.

    4. Nor is this all; the greater part of Billuart’s negatives refer to the Pope’s utterances when he is out of the Cathedra Petri, but even, when he is in it, his words do not necessarily proceed from his infallibility. He has no wider prerogative than a Council, and of a Council Perrone says, “Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma.” Præl. Theol. t. 2, p. 492. Thus, if a Council has condemned a work of Origen or Theodoret, it did not in so condemning go beyond the work itself; it did not touch the persons of either. Since this holds of a Council, it also holds in the case of the Pope; therefore, supposing a Pope has quoted the so called works of the Areopagite as if really genuine, there is no call on us to believe him; nor again, if he condemned Galileo’s Copernicanism, unless the earth’s immobility has a “necessary connexion with some dogmatic truth,” which the present bearing of the Holy See towards that philosophy virtually denies.

    Cardinal Newman:


  26. To Howard,
    When the Pope speaks on matters related to nuclear energy in his encyclical on the environment and I a 30+ year nuclear professional find errors against the science and engineering which I know to be true, then as a good Catholic Christian it is my duty to come out and say, “WRONG!”
    I am NO St Paul confronting St Peter. I never shall be. But our duty – eahc of us – remains the same.

  27. Howard. It’s not the encyclical that’s being evaluated by a “good Catholic laymen”; it’s the author. When the encyclical is published we can take that on. And by the way I don’t think the right would shout “Wir Sind Kirche”. That was Hans Kung and his followers.

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