Joe Biden Praises Pope Francis' Call for Climate Action

The vice president credits faith leaders with shining a spotlight on global warming.

Joe Biden is a fan of Pope Francis.

Speaking publicly Tuesday for the first time since the death of his son Beau, the Catholic vice president praised the pope for pushing for action to rein in global warming.

"We've got a good one now," Biden said, holding up a Washington Post article outlining the details of Francis' highly-anticipated encyclical on the environment, a draft of which leaked Monday.

The encyclical—a rare and influential Vatican statement—calls for global action to halt Earth's rising temperatures and urges the developed world to aid poor nations in the fight against climate change. The Vatican will officially unveil the encyclical Thursday.

"I want to give credit to the impetus that religious communities have brought to this issue," Biden said, applauding evangelical faith leaders such as Jim Wallis, as well as Francis.

"Encyclicals are ... only issued on what the church thinks are incredibly important initiatives," Biden said, adding: "There's a consensus growing. As I said this doesn't only have a moral component to it, it has a security component to it, as well as it has an economic component to it."

Biden's remarks came at the conclusion of a White House clean energy summit highlighting more than $4 billion in private sector investment and executive actions aimed at sparking clean energy innovation.