By Robert Tracinski
I have started Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s newly release papal encyclical on global warming, and it’s something of a slog. As one of my colleagues put it, popes never seem to use one word when 500 will do.
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I feel somewhat free to take things slowly when analyzing these documents. There’s something about an institution that’s been around for 2,000-odd years that makes you feel less beholden to the 24-hour news cycle (or the 5-minute news cycle of the Twitter era). But I’m ready to make one preliminary observation, which stands out with particular clarity in the early sections of Laudato Si.
These are the sections in which Francis lays out what he sees as the facts about a global environmental crisis, and it is a series of blatantly one-sided errors and exaggerations, including many which have been well-discussed and refuted, even in the New York Times.
For example, we’re told that the earth is “laid waste'” and that “the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.” This, at a time when agricultural production across the world is higher than it has ever been, surely not a sign of “sickness in the soil.” Francis uncritically repeats scary stories about mass extinction, in which “each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever,” even though this is based on misleading projections that have been debunked.