EPA chief heads to Vatican to talk climate

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE is traveling to Vatican City this and next week to talk with senior Catholic officials about climate change.

The EPA requested the meeting in an effort to engage directly with the Vatican on how to fight climate change, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

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McCarthy told the Reporter that the Vatican is the “most important” stop on her five-day European trip that starts Thursday, which will include stops in Geneva, Switzerland, and Florence and Rome in Italy.

McCarthy, a Catholic, said she plans to discuss the Obama administration’s actions to fight climate change, including last year’s landmark proposal to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

“Clearly, climate change is an issue that is impactful in terms of how we’re not just going to protect the most vulnerable but also take responsibility for protecting God’s natural resources,” McCarthy told the Reporter.

“It is about protecting those most vulnerable, and EPA’s job, as focusing on public health and environmental protection, always tasked ourselves to look at those most vulnerable and to ensure that when we’re taking action we’re addressing their needs most effectively.”

Among those meeting with McCarthy will be Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The discussions are likely to touch on Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, which he is expecting to release in the summer to urge the world’s Catholics to fight global warming.

The EPA confirmed the trip in a statement, saying that at the Vatican, McCarthy intends “to discuss steps the United States is taking to act on climate change and the importance of international cooperation.”

On the other legs of her trip, McCarthy will speak with the World Health Organization in Geneva, General Electric's annual oil and gas meeting in Florence, and roundtables with business leaders and Catholic journalists in Rome.