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Rick Santorum Doubles Down on Criticism of the Pope's Stance on Climate Change

During a Fox News appearance, the Republican presidential hopeful said people should listen to scientists and politicians — but not the pope — on climate change.
June 8, 2015, 5:25pm
Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA

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Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum reiterated this Sunday his criticism of Pope Francis and his coming encyclical on climate change, saying people should listen to scientists and politicians — but not the pope — on climate change.

Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Santorum, who identifies as Roman Catholic, about comments he made last week during a Philadelphia talk-radio appearance, when the former Pennsylvania Senator said: "We're better off leaving science to the scientists."

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Wallace prefaced his question to Santorum by pointing out that Pope Francis actually studied science and "somewhere between 80 and 90 percent" of qualified scientists attribute human activities to global warming.

"If he shouldn't talk about it, should you?" Wallace asked.

"We have to make public policy with regard to, ah, the environmental policy," Santorum stammered, which then prompted Wallace to interrupt.

"But you're not a scientist. You said leave the science to the scientists," the Fox News Sunday host said.

"But the point is that politicians, whether we like it or not, people in government, have to make decisions with respect to our public policy that affect American workers," Santorum responded.

Santorum called the scientific consensus that human activities are causing the planet to warm "speculative" and said "none of the predictions made 15 years ago have come true."

Leading scientific bodies, including the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, and the UK's Royal Society, say the planet is warming and human actions, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are the cause.

Pope Francis is expected to issue an encyclical on climate change and the environment on June 18. The pope, who chose his name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment, has been increasingly outspoken on environmental issues in the past several months. He visited Tacloban in the Philippines on the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan in January and has warned that the impacts of climate change are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor.

Related: Rick Santorum thinks the pope is better off sticking to theology than talking about climate science