Pope Francis' recent encyclical, emphasizing the responsibility of humans in the increasingly exacerbating problem of climate change, raised the hackles of several major Republican figures. Here are some reasons why you might want to value the Pope's views on the issue:
The Pope's background in science
The Vatican isn't considered to have a particularly good track history with science. The current Pope, however, was a trained chemical technician before settling for his more ecclesiastical pursuits. Indeed, he is known for sharing views on ecological matters with the UN as well as leading scientific voices speaking for the climate change issue. From all accounts, the Pope appears informed and reasonable when voicing his opinions.
The stance most commonly adopted by Republican politicians and lawmakers is that of questioning the credibility of the Pope's views on matters unrelated to Church theology or morality, questions seemingly inapplicable to their own opinions on the very scientific issue of climate change, and the not insignificant lack of scientific credentials they possess.
Denial and willful ignorance of facts
Sen. Ted Cruz cited satellite data in his claims that there has been “zero warming” over the past 17 years, where other Republicans chose to baldly dismiss as junk science or hoaxes the very numerous scientific studies, models and publications virtually united in their recognition that climate change is a real threat warranting action.
Not all Republicans remain quite so dismissive, however, with former presidential nominee Mitt Romney acknowledging human contribution to the issue, and former Republican chiefs of the EPA trying to convince leaders that the situation is turning increasingly grave.