Vatican getting increasingly political on climate change

Vatican's Opinion on Climate Change Is Getting Political
Vatican's Opinion on Climate Change Is Getting Political

The pope has ruffled a few feathers with his opinions on climate change.

Vatican officials are urging people to pay attention to climate change and its effect on the world's poor.

The Vatican is holding a meeting to "Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity meeting in Rome" which is expected to be a preview of Pope Francis's environmental encyclical due out this summer, according to The Guardian.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences said Tuesday's goal "is a joint statement on the moral and religious imperative of dealing with climate change in the context of sustainable development, highlighting the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people."

Climate change skeptics have bristled at the Vatican's take on the matter.

One of the most outspoken opponents is the Heartland Institute, which released a statement criticizing the pope.

"If [Pope Francis] is truly committed to advancing science, the poor and creation, he should reject climate chaos claims unless and until alarmists can provide solid evidence to back up their assertions and models," the institute said.

As The New York Times notes this could create a "potent moment" with conservatives when the pope visits the U.S. and addresses Congress this coming September.

Pope Francis hasn't shied away from the issue of climate change in the past. In December, he told negotiators at a climate summit in Peru time is running out to find solutions, again pointing to the threat it posed to the poor - a major focus of his papacy.