WASHINGTON—In response to a 184-page papal encyclical that urges immediate action to address the environmental and social consequences of global warming, a coalition of frustrated Republican leaders issued statements Thursday arguing that Pope Francis should leave scientific matters to scientists who deny climate change. “Frankly, it’s not really anyone’s place to make declarations about climate science or global temperature changes unless they’re a scientific expert who has spent years rejecting the concept of climate change,” said former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who added that the pope had neither studied climate science nor ever been among the 3 percent of researchers who stand in opposition to the overwhelmingly dominant position held by the scientific community on climate change, so he had no business speaking on the subject. “Personally, I would never trust anyone as an authority on climate change unless they had done years of research and published papers claiming there isn’t enough conclusive evidence yet. The pope should just stick to theology and let the several dozen scientists who support the scientifically disproven point of view on global warming do the talking.” Bush also told reporters that Pope Francis was unqualified to issue policy recommendations of any kind unless he had personally accepted money from the fossil fuel industry.

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