POLITICS

Obama 'Deeply Admires' The Pope's Climate Change Encyclical

06/18/2015 03:56 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2015

President Barack Obama praised Pope Francis' encyclical calling for action on climate change, saying he hopes other world leaders take his message to heart.

"As Pope Francis so eloquently stated this morning, we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children's children, from the damaging impacts of climate change," Obama said in a Thursday statement.

The pope's 184-page encyclical -- a formal letter to bishops released by the Vatican on Thursday -- calls for a "bold cultural revolution" to combat global warming, firmly placing the blame for climate change on human action.

"Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods," Pope Francis writes. "It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."

While the pope's statement has received praise from many lawmakers and climate advocates, some Republicans have challenged the pontiff's arguments. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Thursday he believes the Pope's missive could hurt the poor if lawmakers took action on fossil fuels. Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum also expressed skepticism about the pope's stance on climate change.

Pope Francis is set to address Congress when he visits the United States in September.

Read Obama's full statement below:

I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis's encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope's decision to make the case - clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position - for action on global climate change.

As Pope Francis so eloquently stated this morning, we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children's children, from the damaging impacts of climate change. I believe the United States must be a leader in this effort, which is why I am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad to cut carbon pollution, to increase clean energy and energy efficiency, to build resilience in vulnerable communities, and to encourage responsible stewardship of our natural resources. We must also protect the world's poor, who have done the least to contribute to this looming crisis and stand to lose the most if we fail to avert it.

I look forward to discussing these issues with Pope Francis when he visits the White House in September. And as we prepare for global climate negotiations in Paris this December, it is my hope that all world leaders--and all God's children--will reflect on Pope Francis's call to come together to care for our common home.

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