Should We Care What the Pope Says About Climate Change?
"Should We Care What the Pope Says about Climate Change?", 109 AJIL Unbound 127 (2015)
5 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 25, 2015
How influential will the papal encyclical on climate change be? And how influential should it be? Up until now, climate change has been debated primarily in scientific and economic terms. The Pope rightly seeks to make it a moral issue as well, a question of justice between rich and poor, both internationally and within countries, as well as across generations. Although these arguments have been made before, the Pope serves as a megaphone, giving them much greater prominence. Given the uncertainties about whether the climate change problem will be solved through politics, economics, technology, or a moral transformation that makes people accept lower levels of consumption, pursuing change along as many avenues as possible is only prudent. The papal encyclical certainly adds a powerful new voice to the climate change debate, and does an enormous service in highlighting the moral dimensions of the problem.
Keywords: Climate change, Paris conference, Pope, Encyclical, Religion
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation