As part of the Republican Party’s ongoing attempt to discredit the pope because his passion for fighting climate change makes their own climate denial look really bad, presidential candidate Jeb Bush took a potshot at Pope Francis for meddling in “science” when he should stick to religion. There was just one problem: Pope Francis has a background in science, holds a degree in a scientific field, and worked in a chemistry lab before joining the Church. Comparatively, Jeb Bush graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Latin American studies.
While on the campaign trail, Bush was asked by a reporter in Virginia about the pope’s calls for climate action, and whether it differs from his own. Bush condescendingly suggested that the pope was wrong, but probably just didn’t know any better. According to Bush, the pope was, after all, “not a scientist.”
“The way you create a focus on protecting the natural environment and the creatures that are divinely inspired – which is the pope’s view, he’s not a scientist, he’s a religious leader – is to create economic growth to generate revenues to be able to help people.”
So in Jeb’s mind, the best way to protect the environment is to deregulate business so they can become richer. It’s unclear how that would work. For years, businesses have pushed back against regulation and the only result is more frequent oil spills, more devastating pollution, and what scientists are calling the “sixth mass extinction” event in Earth’s history. Jeb’s plan would probably result in the exact opposite of protecting the environment.