During his visit to the Vatican, President Donald Trump was presented with a papal letter regarding climate change by none other than Pope Francis himself.
Back in 2015, Pope Francis issued the encyclical titled "Laudato Si" or "Praised Be," according to The Independent. The letter, which is 192 pages long, encourages Catholics to protect the planet as a way of practicing their faith.
In the letter, the pope called climate change a "global problem which has grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political, and for the distribution of goods."
On May 24, Trump visited the Vatican as part of his first foreign trip as president of the United States. While he was there, Pope Francis presented Trump with "Praised Be" as a gift. In addition, ABC News reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a conversation about climate change with Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
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In the past, Trump has expressed skepticism regarding climate concerns such as global warming. One commonly cited example is one of Trump's tweets from 2012.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," the tweet read.
Trump's attitude toward climate change has been reflected in his decisions since becoming president. According to The Independent, Tillerson is the former CEO of Exxon, a multinational oil and gas corporation. Trump has also appointed Scott Pruitt, a known climate denier, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, Trump's proposed federal budget would cut the EPA's budget by almost a third.
One climate-related decision that Trump has yet to make is regarding the United States' participation in the Paris Agreement, which was signed by almost 200 countries back in 2015. According to The Huffington Post, the goal of the agreement was to combat climate change by way of the participating countries pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier in May, it was reported that Trump was considering pulling the United States out of the agreement.
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"The president indicated we're still thinking about that, that he hasn't made a final decision," said Tillerson regarding the agreement, according to ABC News. "He, I think, told both Cardinal Parolin and also told Prime Minister [Paolo] Gentiloni that this is something that he would be taking up for a decision when we return from this trip."
According to ABC News, Trump and the pope aos discussed other topics during Trump's time at the Vatican. Such topics included terrorism and the promotion of international peace.
"It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the state and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants," said part of a statement issued by the Vatican after the visit.