If you think for a few moments about the incentives facing the many so-called "anti-poverty" agencies and bureaucrats out there, you will quickly realize that the last thing they would ever want would be a big reduction of the population living in poverty. "Do you mean that the problem is solved? Then they may not need me any more! In fact, what we need is to grow this place so that I can hire five people to work for me and get a promotion!" The population in poverty must remain high in order to justify more and yet more spending, growing bureaucracies, and increased pay and promotions for the bureaucrats.
In the U.S. this perverse game plays out largely in the maneuvering to define "poverty" so that the metric doesn't count any of the government anti-poverty spending and can't ever go down no matter what the government does. That's bad enough. But at least in the U.S. some of the "anti-poverty" money is actually spent on the intended beneficiaries, albeit mostly in counter-productive ways. In the international arena, the game is yet far more reprehensible and sinister. Here we're not talking about the soft American-style poverty of public housing and food stamps, but, in many cases, real grinding poverty -- hunger, disease, carrying your water home on your back, no electricity, no heat, no light, no air conditioning, no automobiles, no internet, etc. Surely, you would say, it can't be that the international bureaucrats actively seek to keep people in this type of poverty.
Wrong. The U.N. aid game is filled with examples of intentional infliction of extreme poverty upon subject populations. Today, let's just consider the single most egregious example of that, namely the U.N. campaign for "climate justice." Oh, and did I mention that there is an intense effort going on right now to get Pope Francis and the Catholic Church to back this reprehensible campaign?
I have previously written here about the U.N.'s "climate justice" campaign, where I called it a "looking glass" world, where the U.N. advocates for exactly the opposite of what would make any sense if the goal was to enable the poor to escape poverty. We have a situation where hundreds of millions of people are in real poverty, meaning that they lack sufficient food, electricity, heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, lighting at night, automobiles, refrigeration, mechanized agriculture, clean water, the internet, and on and on and on. All of these things result in large part from insufficient access to energy, and the cheaper and more reliable the energy the more quickly and plentifully the missing items can be had. Meanwhile predictions that global temperatures would rapidly rise as mankind burned more fossil fuels have been disproved by a period now approaching 20 years where atmospheric CO2 has increased but temperatures have not, not even by a little bit. And in this situation the U.N. of course advocates that the greatest crisis facing less developed countries is "climate change" caused by CO2 from fossil fuels. The U.N.'s proposed solution is that the developed countries must send lots of money to the governments (and elites) in less developed countries, while also preventing the poor in less developed countries from getting access to cheap energy from fossil fuels. In other words, the official U.N. program is that money is to go to the rich people in poor countries while the poor are kept in their grinding poverty and are intentionally prevented from getting out.
And in the past several months there has been a huge push to try to get Pope Francis to sign on to this disgusting and immoral campaign. Back in January, Kishore Jayabalan of the Acton Institute reported on the efforts of activists within the Vatican to get an encyclical issued on environmental issues, and particularly signing on to the "climate justice" campaign:
I (very reluctantly) worked on these issues at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for five years, so I have some insight into how Vatican officials tend to think about the environment. . . . General indifference to environmental issues among clerics may mean that more strident activists may get their way simply because they are more committed to their cause. In my work at the Vatican and travels around the world attending Catholic conferences on the environment, I heard countless calls from activists for a papal encyclical on the environment, so the news of such a document must warm the hearts of my former fellow conferees.
A draft papal encyclical has been making the rounds for months. In late April the Vatican held a climate conference, featuring U.N. advocates including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. No voices from the non-climate-alarmist camp were invited. However, the Heartland Institute got wind of the event and sent a delegation to hold counter-events in Rome at the same time. The Heartland delegation included both people of science (like former NASA engineer Hal Doiron and Tom Sheahen of SEPP) and people of religion (like Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Coalition). Here is a report from Heartland on its activities. Heartland describes the focus of its press conference on April 27 as "why the Pope should not put his moral authority behind the U.N.'s climate work."
The globe is not dangerously warming, and the poor of the world should not be kept in poverty in service to that myth.
As of the late-April climate conference, the word was that the encyclical would be coming out in June. But on May 13 came word from the Vatican that the encyclical was being postponed and would be revised. Here is a report from Radical Catholic via Climate Depot.
According to Vaticanist Sandro Magister, Pope Francis has decided to postpone the publication of his long-awaited encyclical on the environment. The reason, according to Magister, is that the Pope realized that the document in its current state had no chance of receiving the approval of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under the leadership of Cardinal Gerhard Müller.
So there was some last-minute push-back within Vatican circles, and now we have at least a temporary reprieve. But this fight is by no means over. The Radical Catholic report has many details on the ongoing efforts of activists within the Vatican to get an encyclical to their liking.
It's easy to understand the U.N.'s motivation for the "climate justice" campaign: it's just great cover to get a big pile of money to send to their client strongmen and dictators, while they all enhance their collective power and control; and meanwhile keeping the poverty population up is always good when you go back for the next round of money. But the Pope? Surely he should care at least a little about the immorality of keeping the poor poor, shouldn't he?