A leaked draft of Pope Francis’ encyclical on global warming has pundits and activists speculating what the final draft of the document could contain. Pro-lifers, however, note the pope’s draft encyclical warns against population control and abortion as ways to fight global warming.
“Importantly, he suggests that to look to population control for a solution to environmental problems is not facing the real problem of waste and overconsumption,” John-Henry Westen, pro-life advocate and co-founder of the news site LifeSiteNews.com, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“In keeping with the pro-life traditions of the Church, the pope also condemned the ‘throw-away culture,’ and specifically said that we may not justify abortion with an appeal to protecting nature,” Westen told TheDCNF.
“He also criticized those who would turn nature into a god, and he criticized many animal rights activists who are, hypocritically, unwilling to save human beings,” Westen added.
One concern among pro-life advocates was that two of the pope’s environmental advisers have advocated for population control methods such as abortion, contraception and sterilization. Pro-lifers are referring to economist Jeffrey Sachs and climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.
Sachs and Schellnhuber were both involved in crafting a Vatican document claiming that “[f]ossil fuel exploitation has also taken a huge toll on human well being.”
“They are both radical neo-Malthusian de-populationists. I don’t say that lightly,” Westen said.
“Jeffrey Sachs is an explicitly abortion-promoting population control fanatic. And how can the Vatican work with this man when they believe abortion to be murder?” Westen asked.
Sachs, who now heads Columbia University’s Earth Institute, has been a staunch proponent of slowing world population growth, especially in poor developing nations in Africa and Asia. In a 2004 article, Sachs said governments should do away with programs to encourage having children.
“We should intensify our efforts to slow population growth through voluntary means, and we should recognize that levelling off the Earth’s population now would add to human happiness and strengthen environmental sustainability later,” Sachs wrote in 2004.
In 2011, however, Sachs advocated for a maximum three-child policy in Nigeria to stave off ecological disaster.
Schellnhuber, on the other hand, is seen as more extreme by pro-lifers because of his argument that the world is overpopulated by 6 billion people — for reference there are about 7 billion people on the planet.
“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something — namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” Dr. Schellnhuber said in 2009, according to The New York Times.
In a 2008 interview with PHOENIX TV, Schellnhuber said the “earth likely will be populated by at least 9 billion people by 2050.”
“You have to imagine that these people will reach an average level of consumption that Portugal has, one of the poorer countries in Europe,” he added. “When you imagine that if all these 9 billion people claim all these resources, then the earth will explode.”
Schellnhuber served as a climate policy advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a visiting professor at Oxford University.
“Now we know the population problem is one of declining births and aging because of the anti-life mentality where more and more families are not have children, not even enough to replace the population – 2.1 on average,” Westen argued. “The result has been the need to resort to immigration to sustain the populations of the so-called 1st world, which often deprives developing nations of their best and brightest.”
LifeSiteNews issued the following correction to their statement regarding John-Henry Westen’s criticism of Schellnhuber:
“LifeSiteNews is issuing a partial retraction of John-Henry Westen’s recent criticism of German climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. In statements this week, Westen criticized Schellnhuber in the following way:
‘But Schellnhuber, the German is even worse. He’s on record as suggesting the earth has a carrying capacity of under 1 billion people. What he proposes to do with the other six billion is anyone’s guess.’
“We have since learned that Schellnhuber’s comments were made in context to the capacity of the planet if Earth’s average temperature dramatically increased, not in context to the current circumstances of earth’s population. Additionally, Schellnhuber’s comments indicate that he considers his opinion an unfortunate reality, not a goal to be accomplished. We regret the error.”
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