A Pandemic–Climate Change Connection?

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 23, 2020   

Pope, prelates, politicians linking the two

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Often parroting the same liberal talking points, politicians and prelates are advocating connections between the Wuhan virus and man-made "environmental destruction." 

In an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday — Earth Day — former Secretary of State John Kerry claimed there are links between the Wuhan pandemic and climate change. 

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry

Admitting that "we don't have a direct link that says coronavirus started because of climate change," Kerry went on to claim "where there is a link, absolutely, definitively there is a link is [sic] in a couple of things."

"Number one, pandemics will move more rapidly and more easily around the world. Disease will carry more easily around the world as we warm and as populations are dislocated because of [the] climate crisis," he alleged.

"Here's another one which, to me, leaps out at us," Kerry said, "We have only a few months ago people warning of the danger of climate — excuse me, of the corona. Top scientists, top epidemiologists, Anthony Fauci, others, were saying, 'This is coming at us. We've got to take steps.'"

After claiming the United States responded too slowly to the pandemic, he concluded that "the link [between the pandemic and climate change] is, when the scientists speak, listen. When the experts are telling you here's what's over the horizon, get ready and be prepared, to use the Boy Scouts' motto."

The pontiff went on to say every crisis 'contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger.'

Earlier in the in the interview, Kerry said "There's no room for ideology, here," and claimed the pandemic is linked to climate change "in the sense that there are people who have said of the coronavirus, 'Oh, it's a Democrat hoax,' or they say of climate change, 'It's a Chinese hoax,'" adding: "And neither are a hoax, and we've seen what coronavirus has done when experts, scientists, warned of what was over the horizon, and now it's with us."

Also part of the interview was former Ohio governor John Kasich, who shared similar views. 

The Catholic Hierarchy

In a recent interview with Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis also implied a link between the pandemic and climate change:

There is an expression in Spanish: "God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives." We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don't know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature's responses.

The pontiff went on to say every crisis "contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption (Laudato , 191) and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world."

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Having opined in 2018 that "those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese," Bp. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, also recently lumped the pandemic and climate change together: "Other major global crises, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, demand cooperative global responses that don't leave out the poor. Once COVID-19 is under control, the world cannot return to business as usual."

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Bp. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

"A thorough review of worldviews, lifestyles and the problems of short-term economic valuation must be carried out. A more responsible, more sharing, more caring, more inclusive and fairer society is required if we are to survive," Sorondo said.

In line with this mode of thinking, Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, posited a direct link between the pandemic and climate change. In a news post for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Thursday he said:

We must look at environmental destruction as the root cause of the global pandemic. The pandemic not only calls for a deep social and structural conversion but a very intimate ecological conversion. The fight against disease outbreaks in the future will require a change in our ways toward the environment ... Our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is in the hands of all of us but to prevent more pandemics and crises in the future will depend on how we take care of our common home." 

Among human activities Gariguez thinks contribute to environmental destruction and pandemics are exploiting finite resources, mining, coal projects and large-scale logging.

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