The two-day event, which begins tomorrow, is intended to increase of awareness and galvanize action on climate change and modern slavery, two pressing issues highlighted in the Pope’s recent encyclical.
Pope Francis has called for action by local political leaders to address climate change in response to what he sees as a dangerous failure by national governments to tackle the issue with any. Brown agrees with that approach, and he’s been pushing for California to adopt some of the toughest restrictions on greenhouse emissions anywhere in the world.
A number of U.S. mayors are also on the trip, including San Francisco’s Ed Lee and Sam Licardo of San Jose.
Before he left, Brown said he’s been “very impressed” with Francis’ leadership of the Catholic Church. Brown – like Francis – was a Jesuit seminarian. Brown left the church before becoming a priest to take up politics.
In his recent encyclical, the Pope blames politics and monies interests for standing in the way of efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. He and Brown share that view. They also agree that climate change is a moral issue.
But the Pope was also critical of California’s cap-and-trade program, which Brown has championed. Francis says allowing industrial polluters to pay to offset their carbon emissions is a ploy that won’t reduce greenhouse gases enough to protect the environment.