Gov. Jerry Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes and a one-time seminarian, will travel to Vatican City this month to meet with Pope Francis and attend a gathering of local officials on climate change and human trafficking.
The trip, announced Thursday, comes as Brown intensifies efforts to coalesce support for carbon reduction policies ahead of global climate talks in Paris in December. He warned government officials at a climate summit in Toronto on Wednesday that the world is heading toward “total unsustainability and ecological collapse” if it fails to reduce emissions.
The Vatican City visit follows the release of Francis’ encyclical on climate change, in which the pontiff appealed for swift action to address global warming.
“In the spirit of the pope’s encyclical, this unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us.”
The July 21 and 22 workshops, hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, will address what the academy called “two tragic emergencies that are related in different ways: the climate change crisis and the new forms of slavery.” The mayors of other U.S. cities are expected to attend.
Brown, a fourth-term Democrat, attended Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary in Los Gatos, before leaving the seminary to enroll at University of California, Berkeley in 1960.
After speaking in Toronto on Wednesday, Brown participated the following day in a panel at the investment bank Allen & Co.’s exclusive gathering of technology and media heavyweights in Sun Valley, Idaho.