Who's Behind the Attack on the Pope's Climate Encyclical?

Who's Behind the Attack on the Pope's Climate Encyclical?
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It is an open secret now that Pope Francis will deliver a papal encyclical on June 18 focusing heavily on the issue of energy consumption, climate change and “the unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem.”  

And of course with any major public event on climate change, the same small and very vocal group of climate change science deniers and conspiracy theorists are trying to distort the message, and (of all things) discredit Pope Francis and his concern about climate change.

For those who regulalry read DeSmog and follow climate issues, this attack on the credibility of the Pope is not surprising, as it is the same people, rehashing the same tired talking points on behalf of the same organizations we have been outing for close to a decade for their lack of credentials in climate science and connections to fossil fuel companies looking to delay action on climate change. 

What follows are the bios, connections and quotes of some of the key denier operatives behind the attack on the credibility of Pope Francis and the climate encyclical:

Myron Ebell, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Myron Ebell is the director of energy and global warming policy at CEI and director of Freedom Action, a “web-based grassroots activist organization loosely affiliated with CEI.” He is also the chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition.

Ebell on Pope Francis and climate change:

“I think he’s [the Pope] very ill-informed and he is ill-judged in doing this.” – The Guardian

Click here to read Myron Ebell’s full bio.


Steve Milloy, Junkscience.com

Steve Milloy was most recently the Director of External Policy and Strategy at Murray Energy Corp, which claims to be the largest privately-owned coal producer in the United States. He held the position from October 2013 until May 2015. 

Milloy on Pope Francis and climate change:

“I think it [the encyclical] is going to be a big mistake for him. I think he is going to come out with a document that is going to be ripped to shreds.”

Click here to read Steve Milloy’s full bio.


Christopher Monckton

Christopher Walter Monckton, the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchely, is a former British politician affiliated with the UK Independence Party. He was a former advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was a “special advisor to Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit” in the 1980s.

Monckton on Pope Francis and climate change:

My message to the Pope would be, don’t take sides on the science. Don’t make the same mistake as seven out of 10 judges in the trial of Galileo, when they invited him to retract his views.”

Click to read Christopher Monckton’s full bio.


Marc MoranoCommittee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

Marc Morano is the executive director and chief correspondent of ClimateDepot.com, a project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). Morano is also the Communications Director at CFACT, a conservative think-tank in Washington D.C. that has received funding from ExxonMobil, Chevron, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars from foundations associated with Richard Mellon Scaife.

Morano on Pope Francis and climate change:

“The Pope has picked a contentious scientific issue which – now going on almost two decades of no global warming, sea ice recovering, sea level rise actually decelerating, On every metric from polar bears on down, the global warming narrative has weakened. And to now have the Pope jump on that bandwagon would sow confusion among Catholics.” 

Click to read Marc Morano’s full bio.


James Taylor, Heartland Institute

James Taylor is a Senior Fellow with the Heartland Institute and managing editor of the Heartland publication Environment & Climate News

Taylor on Pope Francis and climate change:

“I think if he were to see the science as it is, then he would understand that it is more important to raise people out of poverty and give them that opportunity rather than fighting a mythical global warming crisis.”

Click to read James Taylor’s full bio.


Calvin Beisner, Cornwall Alliance

Beisner is known as a “leading evangelical climate-change skeptic,” and was a founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. According to Beisner’s personal website, he was a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Beisner on Pope Francis and climate change:

“The idea of human-caused climate change is “un-biblical. The pope should back off. The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science.”

Click to read Calvin Beisner’s full bio.

It’s worth noting that all of these Pope-hating science deniers were in attendance at the recent Heartland Institute ICCC-10 conference, or Denial-a-Palooza as we prefer to call it. Many of the above quotes were captured by The Guardian reporters who were in attendance. Watch: 

Image credit:  European Parliament on Flickr

Who's Behind the Attack on the Pope's Climate Encyclical?

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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