Did the Pope just call skeptics on man-made climate change stupid?


A friend sent me a link to a story carried by a few news outlets which suggested that Our Holy Father equated skeptics of climate change to stupid or blind using a scriptural reference:

I just wanted confirmation that this was in fact fake. I would hate to think that our Holy Father could be so rashly judging millions of people including scientists who have earnestly looked at the evidence themselves and are not convinced that man is or has contributed significantly to climate change. Can anyone confirm or refute this?


Probably something was lost in translation. I wouldn’t worry about it.


Pope Francis is noted, even famous, for his ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him. This is not a dogmatic issue, it is merely his opinion. One is free to disagree with the political correct view of global warming.


I certainly hope there wasn’t. I don’t think very charitably of climate deniers these days.


I don’t see how anybody can look at a hurricane striking a hurricane prone area at the height of hurricane season as anything other than evidence of massive climate change. This kind of thing never used to happen.


give that man a refugee


You’re free to disagree with the earth circling the sun, but that doesn’t mean your free to be right. Climate change is science, not a manifesto. If you have some explanation for where all the extra energy being captured in the lower atmosphere and the oceans is going, then by all means provide it, because the reality is that we have known for over a century the kind of energy absorption properties CO2 has.


No one is denying climate changes. What we disagree on is the solution.

I think a lot of people mix up climate change with pollution and care of our world.


Scientists denying the reality of climate change is like Intelligent design theorists denying the reality of evolution. They don’t have much credibility.


There really is only one solution. Increased greenhouse gas emissions lead to trapping of thermal energy in the lower atmosphere and the oceans, so the solution is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least mitigate the more severe consequences of those man-made changes to global climate.

Now how we reduce those emissions is a matter of debate. I’m in favor of carbon taxes, which would price emissions, and then use the free market as the means of reduction and moving to alternative technologies. There are other solutions, like cap and trade, or use of regulatory regimes, but I think the former would suffer too much for being gamed, and the latter is very expensive and may not have sufficient results.


I think you make a very good couple of points there. Says the woman getting splinters from being on the fence.


Fortunately Catholics are called to think and act charitably to everyone. Even those we disagree with. As for science. I think our religious should leave that to people in that field if they are not so qualified in so far as casting judgments on one person based on their views or analysis of a thing. I’m always glad that I am however free to disagree with the Pope on matters outside of faith and morals.


Friend there is unfortunately no evidence to support this belief that man made CO2 has been significantly contributing to climate change. I am an environmentalist. I’ve always been. But my religion calls me to be prudent and use my God given “reason” to understand the world I live in.
On that note there are a few things I will share with you from my study of environmental physics and my avid reading on many different fields of study which collectively make up what we know as climate science:

  1. The Earth is largely considered as an organism in modern science in that it is homeostatic. In other words it’s temperature is controlled by the movement of water over it’s surface. Therefore to suggest that increased CO2 will automatically increase its temperature globally is to treat the Earth as a closed system which it is not.
  2. CO2 is not a pollutant. It is plant food and studies have shown that the more of it there is in the atmosphere the better plants grow and yield. This means more food for humanity. Farmers have been introducing excess CO2 into their greenhouses for decades with the effect of increasing crop yield. It is neither poisonous to human or animals either as we inhale it every day, all the time with no ill effects whatsoever.
  3. The majority of CO2 is release by sea algae and terrestrial plants NOT by mankind. Out of the 7% of the CO2 (the other 93% of the air is H2O and other gases) that the atmosphere contains human beings only contribute to 0.024%.
  4. The feedback equation used by most climate models exaggerates the amount of warming due to man made CO2 by 100%. The climate models have been failing successively every year in predicting the amount of warming yet they are still being touted as “evidence” of climate change (results of computer modelling is not empirical evidence as actual measurement only can qualify as empirical evidence).
  5. Historically there is no consistent correlation between CO2 levels and golbal temperature as can be seen in many of the source material when looking at climate over thousands of millenia.
  6. Increased global temperature during a solar minimum (as is the case now) seems to be due to cosmic radiation being allowed into the atmosphere (high solar activity shields the Earth from cosmic radiation normally) and heating it up.
  7. The short term correlations of global temperature and CO2 levels suggest further that increased temperatures over the seas precipitates a release of CO2 by sea algae. So that it is the increased temperatures that are causing excess CO2 and not CO2 causing the increased temperatures. In general and as compared to sea algae our contribution of CO2 is also very minute and insignificant.
  8. The majority contributor to warming is H2O not CO2. H2O accounts for 78% of warming. CO2, Methane and other gases collectively make up the remaining 22% of warming. So if you want to attempt to stop the warming of the Earth get rid of water not CO2.
  9. Even if all countries stopped burning fossil fuels over night this would only account for “possibly” a 1 degree celcius decrease in global temperature over the next half a century. This is of course ignoring natural forcings (natural causes of warming) such as solar activity, El Nino, La Nina, Jet streams and a host of other “actually significant” climate variables.
  10. Even without Climategate and a host of other scandals involving the skewing of and tampering with climate data by scientists dependent on political funding, the data is quite scant and weak which can prove that human activity has any significant impact on global warming, global cooling, climate change or whatever politicians, scientists or the businessmen who may be paying them both choose to call it tomorrow.


Can you cite where anyone believes that temperature is controlled only by water moving over its surface. I’d be curious as to what you base this on, because while oceans most certainly heavily influence temperature, they are not the only variable.

This seems to confuse what is meant by a pollutant. In general, climatologists do not classify greenhouse gasses as “pollutants”, they classify them as, well, “greenhouse gasses”. And just because CO2 is plant food doesn’t mean that it also has solar radiation absorption properties that means it will inevitably lead to the trapping of solar radiation. Something can be beneficial and harmful at the same time.

What does this have to do with increasing CO2 PPM? Even a modest 0.1% increase in overall CO2 in the atmosphere, considering the sheer size of the atmosphere will mean more radiation is trapped.

I’m going to be blunt. I don’t believe this claim at all.

This is also an incorrect claim.

Solar output is factored into all models.

You don’t seem to understand photosynthesis. In fact, you appear to have it exactly backwards, as above you claim CO2 is plant food, but now you claim it is the byproduct of respiration.

Water is accounted for in all models.

I think this is a bit off. Can you provide your source?

Ah, so now we’re back to the “Climategate” email nonsense, which was dealt with a long time ago. There was no wrongdoing, no scandal.


Climate Change per human cause is not settled science. There are 1000s of scientist who disagree with you. As such, from a scientific point-of-view, and absolutely from a Catholic point-of-view, we are free to disagree. This is not dogma or definitive teaching and is not even eligible for such status.


I just love Al Jazeera

Pope Francis slams ‘stupid’ climate change deniers
Pontiff calls on politicians to take scientists’ advice as he raises alarm over global warming after major storms.
Pope Francis has sharply criticised climate change deniers as “stupid” in the wake of a spate of powerful hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

"Those who deny it [climate change] should go to the scientists and askHe said individuals and politicians had a “moral responsibility” to act on advice from scientists, who had clearly outlined what must be done to halt the course of “catastrophic” warming.

“These aren’t opinions pulled out of thin air,” he said. “They are very clear. They [world leaders] decide and history will judge those decisions.” them," the pontiff said on Monday during an in-flight press conference on the return leg of a five-day Colombia trip. “They speak very clearly.”

As his charter plane flew over some of the recently devastated areas en route to Rome, Francis added: “I am reminded of a phrase from the Old Testament, I think from the Psalm: ‘Man is stupid, he is stubborn and he does not see.’”

I also love Pope Francis.
Those who deny it [climate change] should go to the scientists and ask them," the pontiff said on Monday during an in-flight press conference on the return leg of a five-day Colombia trip. "They speak very clearly."


And this is gold
From the same plane trip,
As his charter plane flew over some of the recently devastated areas en route to Rome, Francis added: "I am reminded of a phrase from the Old Testament, I think from the Psalm: 'Man is stupid, he is stubborn and he does not see.’"

Al Jazeera reporters are also on the pontiff’s plane!


Yes, it is settled science because CO2’s radiation absorption properties and thermodynamics makes it settled, and no number of doctored lists of “scientists” from the Heartland Institute can alter physical laws.


Why should I be surprised by this? Didn’t he call young Catholics who prefer the TLM rigid?

“I always try to understand what’s behind people who are too young to have experienced the pre-conciliar liturgy and yet still they want it,” the pontiff said. “Sometimes I found myself confronted with a very strict person, with an attitude of rigidity. And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”


I wouldn’t have used the word “stupid,” but perhaps “misled by the well-oiled CC denialist industry.”

Maybe the Holy Father doesn’t know about all the denialist propaganda out there and how very cleverly they deceive people, so perhaps he assumes people are just ignorant of the issue or don’t have the capacity to understand it.

Actually studies have shown that denialists are often better informed about CC than the general public, bec to deny it they first have to understand it.

Such successful deceit requires a high level of intelligence. Denialists tend to be smart, but sadly misled and duped, and perhaps some are willingly duped & into duping others due to various reasons, fears, and/or ideologies.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.