Pope Francis, in an interview to the press (9/11/17) opined that “Humanity will ‘go down’ if it does not address climate change”. Now, despite the title of this post, I don’t deny that climate changes. It has changed and will change. There was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Viking colonized Greenland, and there have been glacial and inter-glacial changes. I will deny that man-made production of CO2 has much to do with such climate change, and I’ve justified that in a number of blog posts (see here, for example), as have other scientists.
What concerns me is that the Church, in the person of the Vicar of Christ, takes a position on unsettled science; and, despite some of Pope Francis’s statements–the verdict, in terms of model predictions being empirically justified, is not proven at all.
Let me go to a different case, where the science was more established. Abbe LeMaitre (and the Russian mathematician Friedmann) had shown that Einstein’s General Relativity Field equation yielded a time dependent solution with a singularity at the beginning of time, t=0, an expanding universe. And lo, and behold, the galactic red shift relations shown by Hubble were in accord with that expanding universe. And thus we knew about the “Big Bang”. Supposedly Pope Pius XII wanted to use this science as evidence for the doctrine, Creatio ex Nihilo, but was dissuaded from doing so by Abbe LeMaitre, who argued that science changes but faith does not. (The incident is discussed in much greater detail here.)
My point is that the Church is not competent to judge whether science is good or bad, and science can not say whether Doctrine or Dogma are true or false. The Church can certainly weigh in on the morality of applications of science–for example, Designer Babies, fetal cell research–but it can’t and shouldn’t make judgments on what science is true and what is not.