Some of corporate America’s biggest climate-change deniers — from Exxon-Mobil to the Koch Brothers — are dreading a potent storm that’s gaining strength and headed right at them. It’s the category-5 “Hurricane Francis,” which threatens to overwhelm their flimsy ideological castles.

Rather than extreme weather, this has to do with a diminutive human who’s become a force of nature: Pope Francis.

This summer, he intends to deliver a powerful papal encyclical putting the moral energy of the church solidly behind the urgent imperative to end the industrial pollution that’s causing global warming.

Pope Francis

Aleteia Image Partners/Flickr

Specifically, Francis will lead Catholics in a worldwide campaign to enact sweeping reforms proposed by the United Nations to halt the toxic emissions that profit a few wealthy investors at the expense of humanity itself.

The Pope’s principled, stout-hearted stand is causing fainting spells, gnashing of teeth, and bombastic rants in the lodges of the profiteers and their right-wing, anti-science devotees.

A delegation of climate change deniers from a Koch-funded outfit called the Heartland Institute even scurried off to Vatican City to protest what it calls the “mistake” that Francis is making. And a right-wing writer aptly named Maureen Mullarkey ranted: “Francis sullies his office by using demagogic formulations to bully the populace into reflexive climate action with no more substantive guide than theologized propaganda.”


They can wail all they want. But Pope Francis — who chose his papal name in tribute to the patron saint of animals and the natural world — is right. Stopping the looming human disaster of climate change is not only a matter of science, but also of moral duty.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower

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