“We have a good one now,” Vice President Joe Biden laughed as he read aloud a leaked draft of Pope Francis’s landmark encyclical on climate change.
It was June 2015, and Biden was addressing a White House-sponsored forum on clean energy investment, his first public appearance since his son Beau’s death from cancer in May. The vice president was in good spirits. Just the day before, numerous media outlets had obtained an early copy of Pope Francis’s book-length letter on the environment. For Biden, the contents were encouraging: Francis framed climate change similarly to the way the Obama administration did — as both a moral and economic issue.