DAVENPORT, Iowa— Iowa farmer Tom Wind grows a lot more than soybeans and corn. He’s been planting 400-foot wind turbines at his farm in Greene County, Iowa.
The turbines are able to fuel a 2,000 horsepower engine.
“It turns out that wind power is fairly economical,” Wind said. “Wind power is one of the cheapest forms of new energy.”
Pope Francis jumped into a raging political debate on Thursday with a lengthy letter and on Twitter by demanding immediate action to reverse climate change, which he blamed on fossil fuels and big business.
Wind, a practicing Catholic, says he’s grateful that he and the Pope are on the same side.
“It’s just another piece of evidence, another opinion, saying that we need to do something about climate change,” he said.
Five thousand miles away in the Vatican, the Pope’s encyclical landed heavily on the status quo. He called for decisive action to stop environmental degradation and global warming. He sided with scientists who say the problem is real and mostly man made.
Father Bud Grant, a theology professor at St. Ambrose University, applauded the Pope’s message.
“We know this is what the science says. There is no debate here,” he said. “There is no controversy. Let’s move on and talk about other things.”
The encyclical also shook up the political landscape where a number of Republican presidential hopefuls suggested Pope Francis was meddling.
Catholic Republicans in general were wrestling with the Pope’s conclusions. Jay Richards, a professor at Catholic University, has yet to be convinced climate change is something to worry about.
“It’s not drastic, and in fact I think the evidence suggests that what the models are predicting is actually not taking place,” he said.
Some skeptics also argue that technology will eventually solve the problem without having to turn the world’s economy upside down. But the Pope said it is time to reject such magical concepts.