Sir, I cannot imagine a more perverse conclusion than the one Nick Butler draws in his comments on the Pope’s encyclical in “A papal message that misses the point”, (FT blogs, June 18). To suggest that the Pope opposes science when he is in fact endorsing the scientific consensus on climate change and explicitly rejecting the denialism of some fundamentalist Christians, is truly extraordinary. Even Mr Butler’s long excerpt from the encyclical, which he says “deserves to be quoted in full”, has nothing to do with whether science can help in finding solutions.
That the Pope questions some aspects of modern “progress” is surely not surprising; on the contrary, that is the essence of his challenge and one does not need to be anti-scientific to join him in reflecting about this. I differ with the Pope on some aspects of his message. I do not believe that rich countries have become rich at the expense of the poor. Nor do I think that developing countries — which have pumped as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 1970 as the rich countries have done since 1750 — deserve to be let off lightly in the search for solutions. But in the face of the Pope’s extraordinary challenge, which is both sweeping and subtle and aimed at us as individuals not just as members of a larger society, surely we should be setting aside our knee jerk reactions and opening ourselves to new ways of looking and acting on the subject.
Montreal, QC, Canada