Democrats supported the Encyclical. President Obama deeply admired “the Pope’s decision to make the case – clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position – for action on global climate change.”
In Canada, the response to the Encyclical has been very positive. No politician has criticized Pope Francis. No politician has taken issue with his clear statements on climate change and its impact. So far, Canadian Conservative politicians have avoided comment on the Encyclical.
Take one of the prominent themes of the Encyclical: limiting climate change is necessary to protect the poor. So wealthy developed nations must fund most of the efforts of developing nations to limit their GHG emissions. To this end, the UN is pushing wealthy nations to contribute a total of 100 billion to a Green Climate Fund.
US Republicans see the demand for financial aid as part of a UN-based socialist scheme to transfer wealth to others. Politicians in several countries have adopted this characterization as their own. For instance, Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, has said: “No more “socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”
Yet in response to the release of the Encyclical, a spokesperson for Abbott stated: “The Prime Minister has always maintained that climate change is real, mankind does make a contribution, and that it’s important to have a strong and effective policy to deal with it.”
To conclude: denialist politicians will have to substantially re-think why they object to climate change measures. Blatantly superficial talking points will not be sufficient.