Just days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on combating climate change, Pope Francis issued a reminder about the universal need to care for the Earth.
The pontiff tweeted Monday morning: “We must never forget that the natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.”
Trump dealt a major blow to the international effort to protect the environment with his announcement last week that the U.S. will withdraw from the 2015 accord. Under the terms of the deal, the country can’t officially withdraw until November 2019. When it does, the U.S. will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only other countries outside the agreement to combat climate change.
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, described the move as “a huge slap in the face.”
Barely a week early, the U.S. president met with Pope Francis for the first time and promised to read the pontiff’s 184-page encyclical on climate change.
Francis gifted Trump a copy of his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si,” which makes the case that climate change is inherently a moral and spiritual issue that disproportionately affects the poor and the marginalized.
The encyclical outlines Francis’ staunch belief that the environmental crisis facing the world is caused by human activity, and that the world’s leaders must act swiftly to confront what he called a “global problem with grave implications.”
“Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming, or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it,” Francis said in the encyclical.
Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax touted by the Chinese to compromise U.S. manufacturing. In his Rose Garden remarks, he termed the the Paris accord “very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.”