Pope Francis is set to release a much-anticipated encyclical, or high teaching document, on climate change this week. In a leaked version, the document explicitly cites burning fossil fuels as a major cause for environmental trauma for millions around the world. 

For Catholic presidential candidates who have championed the belief that global warming is not caused my humans, the approaching encyclical announcement is putting the pressure on their campaign platforms.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Junior Senator Marco Rubio are two Catholic Republican candidates who have upheld their belief that climate change is not man made. They are also invested in the business of fossil fuels, and heavily oppose any campaign to regulate their use. 

Opinions on the environment do seem to be divided along political lines. A quarter of Republican Catholics agree that global warming is caused by humans, compared to six out of ten Catholic Democrats.

For Rev. Robert Sirco, executive director for the Study of Religion anf Liberty, the climate is already heated. “From the moment he steps into that chamber and talks about climate change, it’s going to be taken as a political statement. For the conservatives, it’s going to be very uncomfortable. Republicans are going to have a hard time on the environment.”

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