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."

Governor Brown delivers remarks at Vatican symposium on climate change.

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."

Governor Brown delivers remarks at Vatican symposium on climate change.

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.

Photo credit: Pontifical Academy of Sciences.