Pope in U.S, urges action on climate change

Pope Francis has called for further action on climate change, saying that it was “a critical moment of history,” on the first day of his visit to the United States.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 11,000 people on the White House South Lawn, the pontiff said the problem could “no longer be left to a future generation.”

President Barack Obama said the Pope reminded people “that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet.”

The Pope will later conduct the first canonisation on U.S soil, the BBC reports.

Following the speech, the two leaders met behind closed doors in the Oval Office, before the Pope embarked on a parade around the White House grounds in a specially outfitted jeep known as the “Popemobile.”

Crowds lined the streets, and a young girl and a baby were allowed to cross security barriers to be greeted and hugged.

He then departed the White House for St Matthew’s Cathedral, a few blocks up the road, where he is delivering an address to U.S bishops.

Earlier in the morning, speaking in English – one of the few times the Argentine pontiff is expected to do so during the week’s many events – Pope Francis praised President Obama for recent proposals aimed at tackling air pollution.

Time remains to make the changes required, the Pope said, in a speech that also called for protecting religious liberty and stamping out discrimination.