Pope Francis recent considerations on global warming corroborates my idea that Vatican lacks the “fresh air” people associate with its latest appointed leader. The Church – this communication showed me – once again proposes a version of facts that does not correspond to reality to satisfy a Catholic rhetoric.
Through an encyclical, the most considered of Catholic’s preaches, Francis said
“the idea of infinite growth, so attractive to economists and expert in technology, is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s good”
According to the Pope, because human activities are sucking the earth’s lymph dry, we need to establish a “new economical structure”. In particular, this structure needs to change the paradigm of need-for-profit, and need-for-growth. We need to get back to basic. To reverse the process.
I say this straight: I have not read the full encyclical, which I am convinced is an excellent piece of sci-fi. I am also not a big fun of 19th century ideas that “we can go forward, going backward”, and I hope I am not the only one feeling some degree of déjà vu. First, I cannot think of an ‘expert in technology’ who would consider earth as an infinite supply of goods. Second, the rhetoric of “profit” being the problem behind global warming shows the incredibly limited understanding that Church acquired on the problem, in spite the international conference on the subject the Vatican organised this year.
The scientific community is discussing global warming from 40 years. The complexity of how global warming is caused, and the decisions governments make to strike a balance between lifting people from poverty and the need to burn fuel (among other things), have been oversimplified to fit a story that works excellently to promote Church’s popular figure.
I think we should convey a better message to the public than the simplification offered by Pope Francis: The Profit + The seek for Growth + Big Companies = Evil. The document is clear at identifying multinationals and establishments as direct responsible for global warming. It isn’t people need for jobs. It isn’t peace keeping. It isn’t lack of green-science investment. It’s industry, the sin of money.
What irritates me the most is the association between progress and inevitable earth disruption, a message hidden behind the encyclical that will echo in people’s imagination. Some observers welcomed Pope’s encyclical because it will rise more awareness on the topic, and will skew for the better the opinion of the Catholic Republicans in US, for instance – long standing against the “climate scam”. On the other hand, it is a damaging message against progress, in a time when we need to start growing again, as soon as possible. Progress is what is helping us not only to lift people form extreme poverty, but helping science to reduce the human footprint on the planet. Profit – among other factors – leads to investments in new technologies.
Growth is what we need to get out of this shit, and my suspicions is that the real message that is going across is the rhetoric of “it was better before” and “stop messing with my earth, you ugly capitalism”.