Dems, Obama officials praise Pope’s climate change letter

Congressional Democrats are praising Pope Francis for saying humans are responsible for climate change and calling on the world to fight it.

Democrats highlighted the pope's encyclical shortly after its release to call on people to support efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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“Pope Francis writes with beauty, with clarity and with moral force,” House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCutting tariffs is better than cutting payroll taxes to boost the economy Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy In debate over internet speech law, pay attention to whose voices are ignored MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters.

“This encyclical stance is an urgent call for governments, to industry and the whole community to honor their responsibility to preserve God's creation,” she said, adding that the letter makes it clear the climate fight is about protecting the poor.

Pelosi used the encyclical to slam House Republicans for voting for an amendment to limit the Obama administration’s ability to include climate provisions in negotiating trade agreements.

“In giving us his message to protect our common home, Pope Francis also has given us a common goal — we must act now to stop climate change,” Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-Mass.) said in a statement.

“Pope Francis’s encyclical offers all people of conscience the opportunity to examine their own lives, their relationship to the planet and its people, and their duty to take action,” said Markey, who, as a House member in 2009, sponsored a bill to institute a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (D-R.I.), one of the most vocal climate activists in the Senate, called the encyclical “an inspiring call for action — and a reminder of how harshly our carelessness will fall on the world’s poor.”

“Pope Francis gives voice to the moral urgency of caring better for our home planet,” he said.

In a joint statement, the all-Democratic House Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition said the encyclical makes it clear that Francis agrees with Democrats on the science of climate change.

“For those unmoved by the science of climate change, we hope that Pope Francis’ encyclical demonstrates the virtue and moral imperative for action,” they said. “Today’s announcement further aligns the scientific and moral case for climate action, yet the political will of many is still askew.”

Rep. Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoLawmakers criticize EPA draft rule for curbing rights to challenge pollution permits House Democrats push automakers to rebuff Trump, join California's fuel efficiency deal Overnight Energy: Democrats seek help in appealing to conservatives on climate | Whistleblowers say Interior sidelined scientists | Automakers strike fuel efficiency deal with California in rebuff to Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) applauded Francis for framing climate change as a matter of protecting the future.

“It is a moral imperative to act as a good steward of the environment and the gifts we have been given,” he said.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryA lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Trump's winning weapon: Time The Memo: O'Rourke looks to hit reset button MORE told Time that he welcomes Francis’s attention to the poor and the effects of climate change has on them.

“The Pope’s powerful encyclical calls for a common response to the critical threat climate change poses to our common home,” he said. “His plea for all religions to work together reflects the urgency of the challenge.” 

Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizBiden under pressure from environmentalists on climate plan Pelosi, Clinton among attendees at memorial reception for Ellen Tauscher 2020 is the Democrats' to lose — and they very well may MORE was similarly thankful.

“Pope Francis’ call to action on climate change is an important milestone in the global effort on this issue,” he said. “His is not just a powerful moral voice, he also graduated as a chemical engineer and understands the consensus of climate scientists that accumulating man-made pollution endangers our planet and people around the world.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and an outspoken skeptic of climate change, said he disagreed with Francis.

“I am concerned that his encyclical will be used by global warming alarmists to advocate for policies that will equate to the largest, most regressive tax increase in our nation’s history,” he said. “Climate science isn’t settled.”