Conservatives: Pope 'Misled' on Climate Change

Koch-funded think tank argues against 'unscientific agenda' Francis is pushing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2015 12:07 PM CDT
Pope Francis holds an olive tree that will be planted at the Rome Olympic stadium prior to the kickoff of a soccer match at the Vatican, Sept. 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis has taken on procreation, ISIS, and the Vatican's money issues, and now he's about to take on climate change caused by humans. He's still preparing a secret papal encyclical on the environment due in the summer, and today Vatican officials are hosting a summit to help Francis' drive for nations to sign a UN environmental accord in Paris this December, the New York Times reports. But a conservative think tank partly funded by the Koch brothers—vocal opponents to climate policies—says the pope has had the wool pulled over his eyes, and that his stance isn't science-based. "The Holy Father is being misled by 'experts' at the United Nations who have proven unworthy of his trust," the president of the Heartland Institute said in a statement, per the Times.

The pontiff has made no secret of his environmental advocacy: He sent out an Earth Day-themed tweet that read, "We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family." And on his way to the Philippines in January, he said, per the New York Times, "In great part it is man who has slapped nature in the face." While Pope Benedict also leaned green—his writings on climate change were compiled into a book—it's Francis who understands how to turn his writings into policy, some say. "Benedict … wrote books and hoped they would persuade by reason. But Pope Francis knows how to sell his ideas," a University of St. Thomas School of Law professor tells the Times. (We assume Francis won't be tapping into this senator for help.)

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