Pope Francis and climate change

 

Sir, – I found the piece by Donal Dorr (“Pope’s message on climate change a radical departure”, Opinion & Analysis, June 19th) fascinating in that it totally ignored the elephant in the room – population growth. According to the UN Population Fund, the planet’s population has increased from two billion in 1927 to seven billion in 2011 and will reach eight billion in 2025. The impact of this four-fold increase in population in 100 years, combined with the impact of economic development on our planet, is truly enormous. Yet the Catholic Church (like the proverbial ostrich) seems to continue to have its head in the sand when it comes to addressing one of the key underlying contributory factors – the need for more effective birth control. Instead of making the case for an “ecological debt between global north and south, I suggest the church addresses the “doctrinal” debt which the Vatican has created and sustained. – Yours, etc,

JOHN O’HEHIR,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – The carbon emissions of the average Irish citizen are almost 90 times those of his Ugandan counterpart. Logic would suggest that if reduction in population is a sustainable solution to climate change, we should start here at home.

It has been observed that the issue of population control to counter climate change is raised mostly by affluent male Caucasians in their fifties. Why is this? It seems this is the demographic whose lifestyle, featuring large cars, multiple overseas holidays and excessive consumerism, will be hardest hit by the actions necessary to curtail the developed world’s wasteful and damaging misuse of the Earth’s resources. Best then to blame somebody else and deflect attention from where it belongs. Surely this is the most cynical of proposed solutions, to single out those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by our profligacy and blame them for their own misfortune. It’s time to face up to the reality that in relation to climate change, the buck stops here.

As for the population issue, history has shown us that when families are assured of their economic security through the development of their societies, family size reduces significantly. In this way, the questions of climate change and justice for the poorest peoples are inextricably linked. By taking our responsibilities seriously, as Pope Francis challenges us to do, we can create a world that promises not just the good life for some but a life that is profoundly good for all. – Yours, etc,

JUSTIN KILCULLEN

Shankill

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Martyn Turner’s “God . . . Mammon” effort (June 20th) reduces the potentially planet-saving Laudato Si to a fatuous pun, “Let us pray . . . Yeah! prey.” Couldn’t Turner have asked someone else to read the encyclical for him? I trust The Irish Times will not include this one in its 2016 calendar. – Yours, etc,

EDDIE FINNEGAN,

London.