Governor Brown Calls on Faith Leaders to Help “Awaken the World” to Climate Dangers at Vatican Symposium


VATICAN CITY – In keynote remarks at a symposium on climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on global faith leaders to help “awaken the world” to the threat of toxic carbon pollution.

“Until religious leaders from every part of the globe and from every denomination are engaged, we’re not going to be able to move aside the huge rock of indifference, complacency and inertia,” said Governor Brown. “Going forward we’re going to have to find the pathway to awaken the world to get done what needs to be done.”

The three-day Vatican symposium, “Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility: Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health” featured dialogue between dozens of scientists, scholars, NGO leaders, theologians and policymakers from around the world on the interconnections between fossil fuel use, the pollution of the atmosphere and the oceans, climate change, public health, sustainability and the health of ecosystems. Recommendations based on these discussions will be submitted directly to Pope Francis and other world leaders.

In his remarks, Governor Brown also highlighted the importance of climate action by cities, states, regions, businesses and civil society and reaffirmed the commitment of these non-state actors to the Paris Agreement, particularly in the absence of leadership from the White House.

“This is not just a top down structure that we have in the United States, there are many elements,” said Governor Brown. “Over time, given the commitments that we’re seeing in this room today and what we’re seeing around the world, the Trump factor is very small.”

Over the next 10 days, Governor Brown will discuss clean energy collaboration with European Union leaders in Brussels, Belgium; address the State Parliament of the government of Baden-Württemberg – co-founder of the Under2 Coalition – in Stuttgart, Germany; convene top climate scientists from around the world in Oslo, Norway and serve as Special Advisor for States and Regions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

Governor Brown was named Special Advisor for States and Regions in June by Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama – president of COP23. The Governor continues to build strong coalitions of partners committed to curbing carbon pollution in both the United States through the U.S. Climate Alliance and around the globe with the Under2 Coalition, which has grown to include 188 jurisdictions collectively representing more than 1.2 billion people and $28.9 trillion GDP – equivalent to over 16 percent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy.

The Governor also joined United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg to launch America’s Pledge on climate change to help compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. In September 2018, the State of California will convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, where representatives from subnational governments, businesses, investors and civil society will gather with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement.

This year, Governor Brown traveled to China to build closer climate ties with President Xi Jinping, Russia to call for deeper trans-pacific collaboration on climate change at the Eastern Economic Forum, Canada to officially link California’s carbon market with Quebec and Ontario and New York to discuss subnational climate action with the UN Secretary-General and open Climate Week NYC 2017.

Photo captions can be found below:

1.)Governor Brown delivers remarks at Vatican symposium on climate change.
2.)Governor Brown delivers remarks at Vatican symposium on climate change.

Photo credit: Pontifical Academy of Sciences. For high-resolution copies of these photos, contact Danella Debel at