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Gov. Healey, Boston Mayor Wu will attend Vatican climate conference

Gov. Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will lead a delegation next month to the Vatican, where they will speak to an international climate resilience conference presided over by Pope Francis.

Healey will discuss “governing in the age of climate change” and Wu will talk about “governance, health and energy” at the Vatican Climate Summit, according to an announcement that coincided with Earth Day on Monday. The event is organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences under the leadership of University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco and Ram Ramanathan, a renowned researcher who discovered the greenhouse gas effect of halocarbons in the 1970s. Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer is also scheduled to speak at the summit.

“Massachusetts is a global leader in the fight against climate change and the transition to a clean energy economy, and that’s in large part thanks to our innovative elected leaders and universities like UMass Boston,” Healey said. “This is a global problem that cannot be solved by any one nation alone, and we look forward to collaborating with the mayors, governors, academic institutions, and scientists on solutions at the summit. We are deeply grateful for His Holiness Pope Francis for hosting this important gathering and for his leadership in bringing people together to address climate change.”

The conference is scheduled for May 15 to 17. The details of the governor’s trip are still being finalized, but Healey “will be focused on strengthening diplomatic and economic relations while there,” her office said.

The announcement of Healey’s participation gave a rundown of the governor’s climate policy bona fides, including the creation of a green bank, her creation of Hoffer’s position to coordinate a climate focus between and among state executive offices, aligning state capital investment planning with emissions reductions targets, proposing $1 billion for climatetech in her pending economic development bill, and her lawsuit against ExxonMobil from her tenure as state attorney general.

“This is a global social issue and one intimately related to the dignity of human life. The Bishops of the United States have expressed very well this social meaning of our concern about climate change, which goes beyond a merely ecological approach, because ‘our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately bound together,’” Pope Francis said in the invitation to the summit.  “Climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community. The effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, whether at home or around the world.”

The event is titled “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience” and its webpage declares that climate resilience “requires both cross-disciplinary partnerships among researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs, as well as trans-disciplinary partnerships between science and community leaders including faith leaders, NGOs, and the public.”

“Mayors and Governors form the core of such transdisciplinary partnerships,” the event webpage says.

“I’m thrilled to join UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Governor Maura Healey, and leaders from around the globe at the Vatican for this important climate summit led by Pope Francis,” Wu said. “As a coastal city known for our climate leadership, Boston serves as proof of what’s possible through focused planning and determined coordination. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share Boston’s progress on climate action and learn from other mayors and leaders taking needed action for our brightest future.”

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