Pope Francis Gifts Trump His Encyclical on Climate Change

Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on May 24, 2017, in Vatican City.
Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on May 24, 2017, in Vatican City. (Image credit: Osservatore Romano/Eidon Press/Zuma)

During a meeting today (May 24) at the Vatican, Pope Francis not only urged President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker, but also brought up the need to protect planet Earth — the pope gave the U.S. president his 2015 encyclical on the environment and climate change.

The text within the encyclical is in sharp contrast to the president's views and actions regarding the environment. Trump has dismissed human-caused global warming as a hoax, chose Scott Pruitt as the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), someone who doesn't believe that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is warming the planet (it is), and has proposed big cuts to the agency. His administration has also erased climate change pages from the White House website.

In the gifted encyclical, the pope proclaims the scientific consensus on global warming and the urgency to act before it's too late for the planet: "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades, this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. 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," Pope Francis wrote.

There is no doubt the Earth is warming, and humans are primarily to blame, scientists say. For instance, according to the fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in 2014, the planet has warmed by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) since the beginning of the industrial age.

The pope met with Trump at his residence, the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City. There, the two spoke privately (with translators) for 30 minutes, according to Reuters. In addition to the gift of the encyclical, the pope gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 message of peace, called "Nonviolence - A Style of Politics for Peace," Reuters reported.

Original article on Live Science.

Jeanna Bryner
Live Science Editor-in-Chief

Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.