Quantcast

Obama, Sanders, Kennedy Praise Pope's Call to Action on Climate Change

Climate

In his first public address during his visit to the U.S., Pope Francis devoted most of it to talking about climate change. In front of a throng of people on the White House lawn this morning, Francis expressed his support for President Obama's plan to fight climate change.

“I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution," Pope Francis said regarding President Obama's Clean Power Plan. "Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation." Quoting his own encyclical, he said, "When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who attended the Pope's speech, had this to say immediately following the event: "Contrary to his critics' assertions, the Pope does not hate capitalism. He despises its excesses and sees pollution as sin. He believes that any economic system should be governed by rules that serve the public interest, particularly the poor. Like St. Francis of Assisi, he is both a friend to nature and the enemy of orthodoxy. He has taken the church away from its narrow preoccupation with strict ideology on human sexuality, and he has refocused it on larger moral questions like war, poverty, wealth and the environment."

In his speech, the Pope referenced a critical juncture in our history, saying, "To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King: we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.”

Watch the Pope's address here:

President Obama hailed the Pope for his advocacy. “Holy Father, you remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet—God’s magnificent gift to us,” the President said. He also praised the Pope’s call to help the poor and vulnerable. “You shake our conscience from slumber,” he said.

Yesterday, as the Pope's plane was touching down in Washington, DC, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has long expressed his admiration for the Pope, took the opportunity to praise him for 11 minutes on the Senate floor for his attention to poverty, the economy and the environment. To show their support ahead of the Pope's visit, last week 11 Republican members of Congress called for climate action last week, introducing a resolution that put the climate challenge in the broader context of conservation, stewardship, innovation and conservatism. And yesterday, a group of Senate Democrats unveiled an energy bill to signal their "full-throated support" of Obama’s climate plan.

Not everyone is inspired by Pope Francis' words, though. “We all share Pope Francis’s desire for responsible environmental stewardship," said James Taylor, senior environmental fellow at The Heartland Institute. "Unfortunately, Pope Francis appears to believe poorly supported global warming theories that have been strongly and repeatedly contradicted by real-world observations. His decision to spend so much time and effort venturing outside the realm of religion and into the realm of science and public policy is unlikely to advance his Christian mission.”

At least one Catholic Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), is boycotting the Pope’s speech to Congress on Thursday because he disagrees with his stance on climate change. Other conservatives have criticized the Pope ahead of his visit to the U.S., accusing him of being inspired by “pagan remnants” of “nature worship.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Watch Stephen Colbert Apologize To Donald Trump

Climate Deniers Attack ‘Rock Star’ Pope as ‘Nature-Worshipping Pagan’ Amid U.S. Visit

Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges to Divest From Fossil Fuels as Movement Grows 50-Fold in One Year

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.

Read More Show Less
arinahabich / Stock / Getty Images

By Sydney Swanson

With April hopping along and Easter just around the corner, it's time for dyeing eggs (and inadvertently, dyeing hands.) It's easy to grab an egg-dyeing kit at the local supermarket or drug store, but those dye ingredients are not pretty.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Aerial of farmland and mountains near Seaward Kaikoura Range in New Zealand. David Wall Photo / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images Plus

By Jordan Davidson

New Zealand's pristine image as a haven of untouched forests and landscapes was tarnished this week by a brand new government report. The Environment Aotearoa 2019 painted a bleak image of the island nation's environment and its future prospects.

Read More Show Less
heshphoto / Image Source / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Eating even "moderate" amounts of red and processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer, according to a new study of nearly half a million adults in the United Kingdom.

Read More Show Less
The view from the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan. Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Sierra Searcy

This week, progressive Democrats and youth advocates are launching a nationwide tour to win support for the Green New Deal. Though popular, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change has struggled to earn the endorsement of centrist Democrats in Rust Belt states like Michigan, the second stop on the tour.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mike Taube / Getty Images

If you are looking for something to do this Easter weekend, why not visit your nearest national park? All sites run by the National Park Service (NPS) will be free Saturday, April 20 as this year's National Park Week kicks off, USA Today reported.

Read More Show Less
A new EPA rule on asbestos does not say anything about the asbestos currently in the environment. Bob Allen / Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed a new rule on asbestos Wednesday that it says will "close the door" on new, unapproved uses. But public health advocates warn the rule could actually open the door to increased use of the carcinogenic fibrous material.

Read More Show Less
A mountain woodland caribou bull in the Muskwa-Kechika Wilderness area in northern British Columbia, Canada. John E Marriott / All Canada Photos / Getty Images

It's heartening, in the midst of the human-caused sixth mass extinction, to find good wildlife recovery news. As plant and animal species disappear faster than they have for millions of years, Russia's Siberian, or Amur, tigers are making a comeback. After falling to a low of just a few dozen in the mid-20th century, the tigers now number around 500, with close to 100 cubs — thanks to conservation measures that include habitat restoration and an illegal hunting crackdown.

Read More Show Less