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Pope on Climate Change: 'A Critical Moment of History'


  • Birute Vijeikiene, 123RF

In his first major speech in English Wednesday morning, Pope Francis used his historic visit to the White House to voice his concern on climate change:

“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.”

The pope referenced an American icon in equating the struggle for civil rights to the fight against climate change:

"To use a telling phrase of the Rev. Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it."

President Obama seized the opportunity to echo the pope's focus on climate change:

“Holy Father, you remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet—God’s magnificent gift to us. We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to a changing climate and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations.”
In July, Boise Weekly examined the pope's 180-page climate change encyclical and how some Idahoans made immediate connections to the Gem State—particularly Idaho Power's dependency on coal-powered energy plants.

"Idaho is now swarming with renewable energy projects," said Jack McMahon, a parishoner at Boise's Risen Christ Catholic Church and professor at Concordia Law School. "Idaho Power chose the other path...they have locked themselves into using fossil fuels for the next 20 years."

Meanwhile, officials at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise have expressed growing interest in the pope's stance on climate change. An editorial in the June 19 edition of the Idaho Catholic Register, titled "Pope Francis sees the forest for the trees," states that the pope is not trying to 'convince the inconvincible' that climate change exists, but instead demonstrate why humanity should be concerned."