There is no better endorsement for President Obama’s climate agenda than someone who is the source of immense of moral authority, Pope Francis. On the first day of his visit to America, the Pope called for further action on climate change. He said that it is now a critical moment of history and the problem should not be left to the future generation to solve.
Pope Francis reminded the people that they have a sacred obligation to protect the planet. Making a very rare speech in English to thousands of people gathered at the White House, the Pope praised the President for his recent proposals aimed at tackling the problems of air pollution. The Pope also made a strong pitch to battle climate change with specific reference to the President’s clean air initiative.
The environmental issue is a divisive one in US politics so that one Republican congressman boycotted the Pope’s speech in Congress due to the pontiff’s stance. All the Republican presidential candidates were against the action to tackle climate change because it will hurt the US economy.
The morning begun for Pope Francis as he emerged from the Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See’s equivalent for an embassy. In his traditional white cassock, Pope Francis spent the first few minutes greeting well-wishers who were gathered behind the fence of the diplomatic complex. Afterwards, the Pope boarded a modest hatchback trailed by a convoy composed of large security vehicles. As they made their way to the White House, Washington streets were purposely cleared of traffic for the occasion.
At the White House, large crowds assembled at the South Lawn to get a glimpse of the pope. Approximately, 11,000 tickets were issued but the crowd was certainly more than that. The Pope was offered one of the most rare and respectful diplomatic ceremony that the US government provides visiting dignitaries. Following the military color guard and the playing of the National Anthems, President Obama welcomed the Pope with a brief remark.
After a private meeting with the US President, the Pope rode the specially outfitted jeep that was called pope mobile and greeted the crowd that lined the streets of Washington.