Pope Francis has been widely praised by world leaders, scientists and others for issuing an unprecedented moral and ethical call to action on global warming in a letter released Thursday, which was addressed to “every person living on the planet.”
The document, known in the Catholic Church as an “encyclical” or papal letter to bishops, was the first such document ever issued on the environment. It adds a crucial component to climate discussions in the run-up to a potentially decisive round of United Nations climate talks in Paris five months from now.
The encyclical got many things right. Yes, the climate is warming. Yes, poor nations are already suffering more from this problem than rich countries, which is inherently unfair, given that emissions from the industrialized world are causing the problem in the first place.