A senior papal official is confident that Pope Francis will be able to change President Donald Trump's views on climate change when they meet at the Vatican on May 24.


"In the election campaign, he even said it was a Chinese invention to criticize America," Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told Italian wire service ANSA. "But this president has already changed about several things, so perhaps on this as well."

Pope Francis dedicated his Laudato Si encyclical to climate change and called it "a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation." Trump, a climate doubter, has criticized the pope and does not agree with the pontiff about the global phenomenon.

"They will come to an agreement, since the president claims to be a Christian, and so he will listen to him," Sanchez Sorondo said.

Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, works closely with the pope and has been outspoken on the issue of global warming and its effect on the world's migrant crisis.

In his interview with ANSA, he called the president's anti-climate executive orders "against science" and "against what the pope says."

Refuting Trump's infamous saying that climate change is a Chinese "hoax," Sanchez Sorondo commented, "Today the Chinese are actually very collaborative as concerns the commitments they took on climate with the Paris Climate Conference."

"Even large capitals that have thus far invested in fossil fuels are beginning to be concerned about the effects of climate change and see new investment and research opportunities to find different energy solutions that are 'clean' or renewable," he said.

Over the weekend, Pope Francis said he would be "sincere" with Trump over their diametrically opposed views on subjects such as immigration and climate change.

"Even if one thinks differently, we have to be very sincere about what each one thinks," Francis said. "Topics will emerge in our conversations. I will say what I think and he will say what he thinks. But I have never wanted to make a judgement without first listening to the person."

Also in the ANSA interview, Sanchez Sorondo claimed the fossil fuel industry tried to influence the pope's climate encyclical:

"When he was preparing the Laudato Si, oil lobbies did everything in their power to prevent the pope from saying what he did, meaning that climate change is caused by human activity that employ fossil fuels.

Perhaps the oil companies wanted a 'light' encyclical'—a romantic one on nature that wouldn't say anything at all.

Instead, the pope followed what the scientific community says.

If the president does not follow science, then that is the president's problem."