Vatican to send pope’s number two to UN climate talks

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The Vatican said Friday it will send its secretary of state to the upcoming UN climate summit in Glasgow, casting doubts on whether Pope Francis himself will attend.

Francis, whose passion for caring for the environment has been a pillar of his papacy, said last month that he hoped to attend COP26 but it “depends on how I feel at the time”.

The 84-year-old underwent colon surgery in Rome in July.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Friday the tiny city state’s delegation would be lead by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, its secretary of state.

It did not say whether the pope would attend or would contribute in another form to the talks, which run from October 31 to November 12.

The summit in Scotland will be the latest attempt to slam the breaks on climate change.

COP26 host Britain says the main aim is to keep in play the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature goal enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

On Monday, Francis joined nearly 40 religious leaders in an appeal to government leaders at COP26 for “urgent, radical and responsible action” to drastically curb greenhouse gas.

“Future generations will never forgive us if we squander this precious opportunity. We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children,” the faith leaders wrote.

The pope published a thesis on climate change the same year as the Paris deal, entitled Laudato Si.

It laid the blame for warming squarely on humanity’s shoulders and called for an energy revolution that would mainly be paid for by developed countries.

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