Pope Francis made headlines this week when the draft of his 192-page encyclical on climate change—due to be officially released this Thursday— leaked online. The document focuses, specifically, on how climate change will affect the world's poor.

It's yet another example of the media-savvy pope shaking up the global conversation on a major social isuse, said Charles Sennott, head of The GroundTruth Project.

"He's a pope of the global south. He is the first pope to come from a developing country and be Jesuit, to have a penchant for the poor in a pronounced and modern way," Sennott said.

"Timing matters, message matters, and this pope is very powerful at messaging," he said. "It's a real good sign for those of us who care about climate change."

While some have argued that Francis' statements have not diverged substantially from those of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, on climate change, Sennott says that tone makes a significant difference in winning people over to his message. So much so, he says, that it could sway even the traditionally conservative policy line held by powerful bishops in other areas of the world, like the United States.

"I think tone matters," Sennott said. "The world is moving to this pope in an interesting way that is going to challenge that conservative streak that runs through the U.S. Conference of Bishops."

To hear more from Charles Sennott, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.