Listen Up: Pope Calls for the Replacement of Fossil Fuels, Renewable Energy and Solar Subsidies


We’re talking about religion this week. Did I get your attention? How about if we talk about climate change, more renewable energy, dirty fossil fuels and solar subsidies? Okay, we’ve already covered these topics. But now the Pope has chimed in with his “On Care For Our Common Home” Encyclical. I’m probably the worst person to comment on this 180 page Encyclical (I got kicked out of Hebrew School). There is no doubt in my mind that the Pope’s analysis and commentary will definitely affect U.S. politics related to clean energy.

First, the Pope describes the problem succinctly: pollution and climate change. Some quotes:

  • “Very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”
  • “Problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels.”
  • “Urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”
  • “Economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected (greenwashing).”
  • “Whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions or an obstacle to be circumvented (those pesky Climate Change nuts).”

He then continues with solutions that are both practical and grounded in economics:

  • “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels — especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas — needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”
  • “Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions (natural gas as a temporary bridge).”
  • “Taking advantage of abundant solar energy will require the establishment of mechanisms and subsidies … The costs of this would be low, compared to the risks of climate change (solar energy incentives).”

So what does this all mean? Clean energy supporters and environmentalists are happy to have the Pope on their side. Dirty energy proponents and climate deniers have to argue against the formalized position of the Catholic church…I’m sure the Koch brothers aren’t happy. Right wing Catholic politicians have to choose between agreeing with the Pope — or accepting fossil fuel campaign money.

Overall, this Encyclical — and subsequent Papal speeches — will gradually dissolve the political right-left gridlock on climate change and the actions necessary to mitigate it. I am particularly looking forward to the Pope’s address before Congress in September (ironically, the Pope was invited by Speaker of the House Boehner). So please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for more details on the Pope’s Encyclical and its positive impact on the continued growth of renewable energy throughout the world.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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