Updated Oct 9, 2021 - World

Pope Francis: "Everyone has a role to play" in climate change fight

Pope Francis (2ndR) speaks during an audience with the participants of the preparatory Interparliamentary Meeting for COP 26, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 9, 2021. (

Pope Francis speaks to an audience with participants of the preparatory Interparliamentary Meeting for COP 26, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Oct. 9. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday, as he urged lawmakers to overcome "the narrow confines" of partisan politics to fight climate change.

Context: Francis spoke to parliamentarians who were in Rome for a meeting before the UN's climate conference, which comes as scientists caution that the window for keeping alive the Paris Agreement's most ambitious temperature target is rapidly closing, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • He was slated to be the first pontiff to attend a COP, but the Vatican announced Friday that Francis does not plan to attend the summit anymore. The pope underwent intestinal surgery in July.

Of note: Francis cited a joint appeal that he and other religious leaders made this week that called on political leaders to make ambitious commitments at the climate conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 31, per the Vatican News.

  • "To meet this challenge, everyone has a role to play," Francis said. "That of political and government leaders is especially important, and indeed crucial."
  • The pope said that lawmakers' commitment to fighting climate change "will be illuminated by the two important principles of responsibility and solidarity."
  • "We owe this to the young, to future generations," Francis said.

What she's saying: Pelosi, a practicing Catholic, in a statement called the pope's encyclical Laudato Si,' which lays out his views on the relationship between humanity and nature, "a powerful challenge to the global community to act decisively on the climate crisis with special attention to the most vulnerable communities."

  • "I expressed the gratitude of those working on climate action in the Congress for the immense moral clarity and urgency that His Holiness continues to bring to the climate crisis, and how we continue to cherish his address to the Joint Session of Congress in 2015," she added.

Go deeper: What "success" means at the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Pelosi's meeting with the pope and comment from the House speaker.

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