Has Green Pope Francis Made a Difference on Attitudes to Global Warming?




by Des Pensable copyright 2015

Catholic Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world has taken up the mantle as a world champion of Global Warming action. He has written an extensive 246 point guide (encyclical) to the members of his faith called “Laudato Si” outlining the problem of Global Warming, its causes and the need for urgent action. However, the document is not just targeted at the Catholic faithful but all mankind as the problem and need for urgent action affects us all.

Internationally, the Pope’s encyclical stimulated a very positive backing from the Islamic community and the Dali Lama.

Following the publication of his encyclical he travelled to the USA and spoke to the US Congress in an appeal for logic and sanity to Global Warming denier Republican congressmen who currently control the congress and are blocking serious US Global Warming mitigation action. His visit was well publicized, timely and his pro Global Warming action message widely distributed around the country.

The question of interest to everyone is whether Pope Francis has had any significant effect at convincing the people of the USA that the problem is both real and needs urgent attention.  A second question is whether his personal appeal to the Global Warming denier politicians especially the Catholic deniers in US congress will yield a change of heart leading to policies that favour action rather than hindrance and inaction.

With 246 points, the encyclical is rather large and strong on the world’s moral obligation to care for God’s creation, our home; to fix wealth inequality and reduce poverty. It has been reduced to 10 main points but can be neatly summarized into three main areas.

  1. it is based unequivocally on the scientific consensus that global warming is taking place and that climate change is man-made; it rejects the denial of anthropogenic warming;
  2. it unmasks the political and economic structures of power behind the climate change debate and stresses the importance of non-state actors in achieving change; and
  3. it defines the atmosphere and the environment as a common good rather than a “no man’s land”, available for anyone to pollute. This underlines that climate change is strongly related to the issues of justice and property rights.

To many conservative US citizens and perhaps conservatives around the world the Pope’s message is likely to be a shocking awakening. It leaves no doubt that the scientists are 100% correct. Global warming is real and if we ignore it then our civilization is likely to perish through our own negligence.

He places the blame for Global Warming squarely on the materialism caused and promoted by the poorly regulated free market Capitalism championed world-wide by the USA.  He is aware that the current continual growth economic philosophy in our world of finite resources is both technically and logically impossible.

He states that the current western neoliberal economic policy is causing an increasing wealth gap between the rich and the poor, increased poverty and damaging nature, the water we drink and the air we breathe. It is destroying the Earth’s life support system.

He argues both a moral and practical case for an urgent world-wide transition from fossil fuel use to renewables. More controversially, he calls for a revolutionary transition over the next few decades from the materialistic free market growth economics to a more socially benevolent and sustainable democratic economic system favoring people over profit.

This will need to be a social economic revolution carried out by the people as the politicians and wealthy elite are unlikely to either be in favor or help.

In short, this effectively means moving the USA and world away from a failing Capitalism which is dooming the planet to a more communal oriented Socialist style world. It favors communal ownership over privatization and a political system responsive to people rather than corporations.

The Pope is a realist in that he understands that asking US politicians, industry and commerce to change its ways is likely to fall on deaf ears. So he has pleaded directly to the courageous responsible clear thinking people of the USA and the world.

He is asking you and me for a peaceful revolution where we transform the world dragging the ignorant, the deniers, the greedy, the blind politicians and arrogant selfish wealthy self-styled elite along with us.

It is a mighty challenge that many would say is impossible but to others it’s inconceivable that we idly sit by waiting to perish without trying. So what is the reaction to the Pope’s call for world-wide action? Well two US opinion polls taken before (spring) and after (fall) the Pope’s pilgrimage to the USA are giving the first response of the US people (see here and here).

In short, it’s very positive. There was a definite Pope Francis effect. Indeed a 10-20 point swing. Significantly more people agree that Global Warming is real, caused by humans and requires urgent action. They are very much in favor of moving quickly towards a carbon emissions-free world using renewables.

opinion poll 0n pope visit

Click on graph for clearer view.

The Francis effect in the USA, has not only changed Global Warming opinion among the US people but reinvigorated the whole US Catholic Church.  Catholic leaders from many countries have signed and submitted a 10 point plan to the organizers of the Paris Climate conference calling for firm international action at the conference in December.

What the polls didn’t ask was whether the people in the USA are willing to move away from the current free market vulture capitalism that profits from fear and war towards a more socially inclusive, sharing and sustainable peaceful economy.

Judging by the popular responses to Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign advocating strong Global warming action and an economic move towards a sustainable economy there are millions of enlightened US citizens who would be prepared to move in that direction.

By the same token there are likely to be millions of ignorant authoritarian mass media controlled sheeple who are extremely fearful of any change.

The real unanswered question is whether the US congress has listened to the Pope and is mature enough to place the well-being of the world’s future before their own petty personal agendas and dreams of a US empire. Few have faith in the US congress so it’s likely that the US people will need to do as the Pope suggests and show true leadership at the community level.

You might also like “The World’s Christians Are Global Warming Believers But Does It Matter?

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For more stories on Global Warming by Des Pensable

Is Cutting Politician’s Pay and Conditions Inevitable ?

grandma rioting

by DesPensable  copyright 2015

based on an idea by Fools Troop.

Australia has always been proud of its politicians in the past. We used to boast that we paid them well to ensure we get the best quality candidates for what was a serious responsibility in setting public policy that balanced the needs of the poor with those of the more well off.

They were also remunerated well to ensure their integrity so that they didn’t succumb to the temptation of corruption by those malevolent villains that have always lurked in the shadows of politics looking for quick profit regardless of who suffered.

That was the story that I was told when I went to school a few decades ago. However, a lot has changed in the world over the last couple of decades and now we need to rethink this whole political pay situation. Are we getting value for money?

The Australian politicians are paid amongst the highest in the world with high salaries, bucket loads of allowances and a pension scheme on leaving parliament that pays a lavish salary for life. One might argue that since we are paying them well enough then we deserve to get the quality, responsibility and integrity that we are paying for.

From the point of view of quality each of the major parties gets to choose from a small pool of political hacks that have hung around for years. The top candidates are selected by internal power groups that fight incessantly over petty issues. They develop fine skills in back room deals, backstabbing and deceit. This is not a good start.

The result is we have had 5 Prime Ministers in 5 years and countless juggling of other Ministers to find a few that are really competent to fill their positions. Only 31% of Australians have confidence in their political parties. Only 46% believe it makes a difference which party is in power. Is this quality?

Let’s look at responsibility. The current government  took the majority of their policy from a far right wing think tank called the IPA, a secretive organisation of predominantly businessmen from large companies. Was there any representation from public or advisory groups? No.

The current government  commenced their term by abolishing 20 advisory groups and continued by trying to cull 138 other advisory bodies. Presumably they don’t think government ministers need advice. Was that responsible?  Hardly.

They have just agreed to a secret international agreement called the Transpacific Partnership fashioned by the worlds transnational corporations that will rewrite all the commercial and employment guidelines , rules and laws for our whole country. Once we implement all the TPP laws and new TISA laws they are still keeping secret then they will literally have no more decision making to do as all the TPP and TISA laws can only be changed by the transnational corporations in the USA.

These agreements lay down in law that only neoliberal political policy is allowable. There is no flexibility for social democracy to look after the poor, aged and disadvantaged. The parliament must privatize all government run services including Medicare, schools, TAFES, universities, transport, prisons, postal service, telecommunications, water , power and presumably eventually, National Parks, parks roads and anything that can be sold.

The politicians won’t have any responsibilities any more other than appealing to the private foreign owners of our nation to please let the people keep living in their own country of birth. Indeed there will be no need for Labor and the Greens as social policies, if any, will be set by the transnational corporations for our good as decided by them.

Now let’s review the issue of integrity. The whole Australian satire industry is based upon laughing and making crude jokes about the integrity of the politicians in the two major parties. Is this satire justified?

Recently in NSW the ICAC found the state government to be the most corrupt in Australian history. There are countless rumors about corruption in the Federal politics but the federal politicians refuse to set up a Federal version of ICAC to verify what every Australian already believes. Corruption runs rampant.

Perhaps the Senate in drafting a response the the Royal Commission into the trade unions offers a chance for change. Until then only the most optimistic, the ignorant, the uninformed and  rusted-on conservative LNP sheeple voters could think we that we are getting value for money at the moment.

The question is what happened? Well a majority of Australians are conservative,  selfish and ignorant about world affairs. They don’t give a rat’s arse about politics or really anything other than what happens in the fake reality of TV sports and the mind numbing entertainment offered by the commercial media channels. Ignorance is bliss.

They are well enough off and expect their well-paid but corrupt politicians to do their job babysitting them and protecting their wealth. They want to be left alone to enjoy their wealth in comfort and not have to be concerned about the horrible world outside Australia. The politicians of course know this and exploit it in a variety of get rich quick schemes generally involving the foreign mining companies.

Unfortunately Global Warming affects everyone in the world. Nobody anywhere can hide from it. If the rest of the world has a financial crash, climate apocalypse or a WW3 so will Australia.

Our particularly poor gang of current politicians are not leaders but puppets that dance to the sound of donations from vested interests in the finance and the mining industry.

They want us to believe that a civil war in Syria is a greater threat to the Australia, the driest continent on Earth than Global warming. They want us to believe that mining and selling more coal, which will make Global warming worse, is good for Australia and the world. The world view is that we must keep our coal in the ground.

This leaves us in a very poor position to handle the challenges of a very uncertain future. The world’s scientists have made it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR if we don’t do enough to halt Global Warming and change our economic philosophy from vulture capitalist to a sustainable social democracy then our civilisation WILL PERISH. That means Aussies as well!

We can forget the older people in Australia. They let this happen and won’t lift a finger to help but will most likely hinder any change fearing for their precious savings.  Ask them. They will reply I don’t care about Global Warming because I will be dead before it affects me. So it’s up to the young people that will be drastically affected!

The prime question is will the young people of our stolen country eventually wake up and protest about our politicians’ excessively lavish salaries? Will they demand electoral change that will lead to more honest politicians that will stop selling the county and favor people over corporate profit.? Will they fight to bring back some semblance of social democracy and environmental sanity?

It’s not inevitable that politicians will get a pay cut but it is inevitable that they will be worth even less than the money that we currently pay them in the future unless the young demand and fight for real political change in Australia.

Only they can answer this question but if they are going to do anything they better get a move on. If they are gutless and selfish like their parents then we can all kiss our arses good bye and we all deserve to perish.

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Updates on political corruption

Transparency International warns Australia is ‘complacent’ about corruption  Jan 2016

The case for a Federal ICAC  Feb 2016

Larissa Waters: Ban donations from mining companies and stop ministers working for them March 2016

The Public Deserves To Know Who Is Bankrolling Their Candidates

The fossil-fuelled political economy of Australian elections

It seems like a good time to ask: what are governments for?

Report highlights cosy relationship between mining industry and political parties