The following comes from a July 19 Contra Costa Times article by Josh Richman, Jessica Calefati and Ramona Giwargis:
California Governor Jerry Brown and Pope Francis will cross paths this week at a Vatican symposium on climate change and human trafficking.
For now, both have discerned that battling climate change is part of that mission.
“I’m very impressed with Pope Francis and where he’s taking the church — I see the hand of Jesuit training and inspiration in what he’s doing,” Brown, who studied to be a Catholic priest before deciding his true calling was politics, said in an interview with this newspaper before he left for Italy.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also will travel to the Vatican for the symposium, two of five U.S. mayors who were invited to speak. They’re making the trip one month after Pope Francis issued an encyclical on the environment, including his call for a partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change. The symposium also comes a few months before world leaders convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
“To achieve anything in Paris, we’ll need grass-roots efforts by religious leaders and states and provinces,” said Brown, who during his latest terms as governor has become an international proselytizer for action against climate change. “We need to work together to intensify the pressure on these national leaders to get more done than is currently on their respective agendas.”
The two-day event, hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, aims to drive local awareness, dialogue and action on climate change and modern slavery, two pressing issues highlighted in the pope’s recent encyclical. Brown will attend sessions on “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities” on Tuesday, as well as Wednesday’s sessions on “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities.”
Lee issued a statement saying he’s eager to “share how San Francisco has reached and exceeded aggressive climate change goals even while growing the economy and seeing increases in our population.”