Leaked Letter From Pope Warns of Climate Calamity


     (CN) – Pope Francis will call for a global political authority to avert an “unprecedented” ecological disaster, according to a leaked draft of the widely anticipated letter that the pontiff was scheduled to send Catholic bishops Thursday.
     The Italian magazine L’Espresso released the 192-page papal encyclical on its website Monday, prompting swift condemnation by the Vatican, which has told news outlets that the draft does not represent the final text.
     A report by the Guardian quotes one Vatican official as calling the leak an act of “sabotage against the pope.”
     The encyclical’s official release scheduled for noon Thursday was timed ahead of Pope Fracis’ visit to the United States, where he will address the United Nations and a joint meeting of Congress, the Guardian said.
     Political observers note that the pope’s environmental message does not align with most Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Catholic.
     Released in Italian, the draft reportedly calls for a concerted effort against the man-made problem of climate change.
     “Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” an English translation of the draft quoted by the Guardian states. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”
     Francis has reportedly lost his patience for climate-change deniers.
     “The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions,” according to the draft of the encyclical.
     Though the draft reportedly does not get into the science of global warming, the Guardian noted that German climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was expected to attend the Thursday press conference with Cardinal Peter Turkson, who wrote an early draft of the encyclical.
     The Encyclicals section on the Vatican’s website contains only a June 2013 letter from Francis, released just three months into his tenure as pope, that bears little resemblance to the secular tone of Thursday’s expected release.
     According to the draft’s translation, Francis departed from that format intentionally.
     “Faced with the global deterioration of the environment, I want to address every person who inhabits this planet,” it states. “In this encyclical, I especially propose to enter into discussion with everyone regarding our common home.”
     The Guardian highlighted one “surprisingly specific and unambiguous passage” that fully rejects “carbon credits” as a solution to the problem, saying the measure might “support the super-consumption of certain countries and sectors” and promote speculation that is contrary to the goal of reducing pollution.
     Argentina-born Francis is not the first to make a political appeal. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, also used an encyclical in 2009 to propose putting a global authority in charge of the economic crisis.
     The Guardian notes that Francis complained last year about the “lack of courage” evinced by climate negotiators who had failed to reach an accord on curbing greenhouse gas emissions at a conference in Lima, Peru.

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