Pope Francis visits America

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“Climate change is no longer a problem which can be left to a future generation”

As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “those who believe that politics and religion aren’t connected don’t understand either”. This rings especially true for Pope Francis, who has never shied away from expressing his political opinions whilst talking of spiritual matters.

During the Pope’s visit to America this week,  he has delivered insightful words on immigration, taken selfies with schoolchildren, and celebrated mass for thousands of people. It is this balance between politics, people, and religion which makes his role as the Pope so important to millions of people all over the world.

Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images
Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images

His speeches last week clearly showed that Pope Francis had ignored the calls from some Republican politicians to focus on religious matters rather than political issues. In his speech at Congress, the White House, and the UN, he shared his thoughts on some of the toughest issues in American politics.

In one of his most clearly expressed statements he said “Climate change is no longer a problem which can be left to a future generation”, and went on to say he was ‘encouraged’ by Obama’s carbon emission cutting initiatives.

This comes after Obama announced, at the beginning of August, an initiative to cut carbon emissions by 32% by 2030. Despite support from environmentalists and the international community, backing for these plans is not something that has been widely seen across American politics.

Photo: Twitter

In these past few years he has fought a long hard battle against climate change sceptics and industrial lobbyists. They have been extremely vocal in objecting any proposed environmental initiatives. This lack of support for action against climate change can be clearly seen amongst the potential candidates for the next presidential election.

“I simple don’t believe it” were the words of Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate,  in an interview following the Pope’s words on climate change in congress. He continued by adding: Look, it’s weather. We have bad floods. I can’t watch the evening news anymore. Every time you turn on the evening news, they show there’s a big rain storm, there’s a tornado, there’s this. I mean, you can’t watch the news anymore. And so it’s weather, and it’s been that way for so long.

Unfortunately his view is shared by many other politicians and the large donors who fund them. It is only more pressure from the American public on politicians to tackle climate change that can change their stance. Hopefully over the last week, the Pope has managed to encourage more people to speak out about the need for action in America on climate change.

Rick Santorum on the Pope's speech about climate change
Rick Santorum (American Politician) on the Pope’s speech about climate change

Sources
Time.com, The guardian, Breibart, and Thinkprogress.org