Pope Francis met with the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences—including theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking—at the Vatican on Monday. During his speech, the Pope urged the scientists to “work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences.” Pope Francis directly addressed politicians who deny the existence of climate change by discussing the problematic nature of “the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded.” The Pope’s speech comes after president-elect Donald Trump vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement—signed by 200 countries in an effort to collaboratively combat climate change—and announced he would appoint avid climate change critic Myron Ebell as head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Trump has since wavered on his position regarding climate change, but the future the US participation in the Paris Agreement remains uncertain. Despite what may happen in the White House, California Governor Jerry Brown recently vowed to continue creating policies to combat climate change—similar to the legislation he recently signed that requires the state’s dairy farmers to cut methane emissions substantially by 2030.
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