BARRIE DUNSMORE: POPE FRANCIS, CONGRESS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
COMMENTARY APR. 30 2015, 7:02 PM LEAVE A COMMENT
Editor’s note: This commentary is by retired ABC News diplomatic correspondent Barrie Dunsmore. It first aired on Vermont Public Radio. All his columns can be found on his website, http://www.barriedunsmore.com.
Two days ago, the Vatican hosted a summit meeting of the pope’s top environmental advisers, the head of the United Nations, religious leaders of different faiths, Nobel laureates and respected climate change scientists. This was the latest step in Pope Francis’ campaign to take up the battle against climate change.
In June, the pope plans to issue an encyclical dealing with environmental degradation and its impact on the poor. An encyclical is one of the highest forms of papal communications to the church. The Vatican has signaled that this one will frame the debate in moral and religious terms. And it will call for a sweeping new agreement to cut global warming carbon emissions, at the next U.N. environmental conference in Paris in December.
Pope Francis will personally enter the fray in September when he speaks to the United Nations General Assembly — and when he addresses a joint meeting of the United States Congress.
House Speaker John Boehner caused the White House great angst when he invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress, in opposition to the Iran nuclear talks. So it’s ironic that the speaker’s invitation to have the pope speak to Congress, may bring him more grief than the Netanyahu invitation.