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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  

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: November 25, 2015

Abstract

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

Bodansky, Daniel, Should We Care What the Pope Says About Climate Change? (November 25, 2015). "Should We Care What the Pope Says about Climate Change?", 109 AJIL Unbound 127 (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695515

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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