Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin put on her ‘very serious journalist cap’ this week and broke a major story about the stunning hypocrisy of the pro-environmental Pope. Malkin discovered that while warning the world about catastrophic climate change, Pope Francis was enjoying the benefits of air conditioning at the Vatican. No doubt one of the greatest ‘gotcha’ moments in journalism in the modern era, Malkin even tracked down the name and history of the air conditioning company, proving once and for all that global warming isn’t an important issue if liberals continue to cool their houses. Writes Malkin:
Perhaps the head of the Catholic Church, who condemned “the increasing use and power of air-conditioning” last week in a market-bashing /encyclical, is unaware of the pioneering private company that has donated its time, energy and innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment to the Vatican’s most famous edifice for more than a decade.
That’s right. While the pontiff sanctimoniously attacks “those who are obsessed with maximizing profits,” Carrier Corporation — a $13 billion for-profit company with 43,000 employees worldwide (now a unit of U.S.-based United Technologies Corp.) — ensures that the air in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel stays clean and cool.
While Malkin did a fine job of researching Carrier Corporation, her portrayal of the Pope lolling about in the lap of air conditioned luxury is completely removed from reality. Breaking tradition, the Pope has shunned the official papal apartments and lives in the Casa Santa Marta, a far more humble Vatican residence for visiting clergy and lay people. Furthermore, he had absolutely nothing to do with the air conditioning system installed to preserve the historic art work in the Sistine Chapel.
The air conditioning system was installed in 2014 after three years of environmental studies and modeling to figure out the most efficient way to preserve Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration. Not only were the studies commissioned two years before Francis was ordained, but the air conditioning system they had in place (an earlier Carrier Corporation system) was quite energy inefficient. The new system, reportedly twice as energy efficient with three times the capacity, was installed due to the huge amount of visitors to the Chapel and the damage they do to the art work. Writing in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the director of the Vatican Museums Antonio Paolucci explained that: “Such a huge load of people produces a mixture of dust brought in from the outside, bodily humidity and carbon dioxide which ends up on the surfaces of the frescoes and can over time start to have a harmful effect on their preservation.”
If ever there was a case to use an air conditioning system during a time of environmental danger, preserving the most famous art work in the history of humanity would probably be it, and particularly so if the new system was more efficient than the old one.
Malkin’s paean to the Carrier Corporation, an American enterprise she argues ‘transformed’ America, saving lives and rescuing industries from collapse is not an argument without merit, but it is not clear what it has to do with the Pope’s plea to move away from consumer capitalism to save the planet from ecological collapse. If the Pope stopped talking about the environment, consumer capitalism would still devastate the earth’s fragile eco systems. The Pope may well benefit materially from capitalism, as most people living in Western societies do, but it doesn’t alter the scientific fact that it is environmentally unsustainable.
Malkin’s demand that no one can talk about climate change if they participate in the capitalist system is kind of like demanding bus passengers not alert one another that they are driving over the edge of a cliff. They decided to get on the bus in the first place, so fuck them! Writes Malkin:
If the pontiff truly believes “excessive consumption” of modern conveniences is causing evil “climate change,” will he be shutting down and returning the multi-million-dollar system Carrier generously gifted to the Vatican Museums?
The answer of course, is no. The Pope can still use his platform to warn humanity about the perils of climate change while using air conditioning, just as Michelle Malkin can claim to be a Roman Catholic while using her platform to spread bigotry and hate. While both may be hypocritical, the Pope is at least right.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.