Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking his climate change advocacy overseas next month to the epicenter of Catholicism, where he was invited to speak at a summit of mayors and governors hosted by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

State and local leaders will gather at the summit from May 15 to 17 to discuss the effects of rising temperatures in their communities, with the goal of broadening the conversation from combating climate change to include strategies to adapt to the reality of a warming planet.

Newsom, who aides said will talk about the impact of fire, flood and drought on California, is expected to be one of a few speakers to address the pope and more than two dozen leaders from around the world.

“This year holds unprecedented significance for democracy and the climate, two intertwined issues which will define our future,” Newsom said. “With half the world’s population poised to elect their leaders amidst a backdrop of escalating political extremism, and global temperatures hurtling towards alarming new heights, the stakes could not be higher. There is no greater authority than moral authority — and the Pope’s leadership on the climate crisis inspires us all to push further and faster…. “

For Newsom, a Catholic, the invitation from the Vatican provides an opportunity to show that he’s aligned with Francis and appeal to the 50 million Americans who follow the religion. The trip also gives the Democratic governor an international stage to stress the importance of 2024 elections — and the choice between President Biden and former President Trump — on the climate crisis.

Biden is considered a friend of the climate movement and his Inflation Reduction Act, a 2022 law to increase renewable energy production and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the nation’s largest climate investments. The president has sought to reduce the country’s reliance on coal and gas plants, which Trump has said he would reverse.

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, serves in Pope Francis’ Council for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and helped organize the event. He said invitations were limited to international mayors and governors, including Govs. Maura Healey of Massachusetts and Kathy Hochul of New York. President Biden and other world leaders were not invited to attend, but representatives of his administration will be present, Ramanathan said.

Ramanathan said pressure is on international heads of state to cut emissions, but adaptation starts “bottom up.”

“The key thing is to ask yourself, if there’s drought, and then there’s a fire in our backyard, who is fighting it?” Ramanathan said. “Not presidents of the nation. It’s the mayors and governors. We want to give them sort of a blueprint of how to deal with it.”

From the Los Angeles Times