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Pope Francis holds a Holy Mass for Myanmar Catholic community Living In Rome on May 16, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis, who is a moral leader on climate change, "intends to join" other world leaders at the next round of UN climate talks in Scotland this November, according to John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate change.

Driving the news: Kerry met privately with the Pope on Saturday while on a tour through Europe, and told the press he believes Francis "intends to come."

Yes, but: On video documenting the meeting that Kerry tweeted, the former secretary of state can be heard going further and being more definitive about the Pope's intentions (at about 2 minutes and 21 seconds in).

  • On it he can be heard telling members of his staff that Pope Francis will be there on the first day of the talks, "with other heads of state."
  • "We've been hearing that, so it's nice to have confirmation," one of the staff members replies.
  • "It will be amazing, I'm telling you it will have a profound impact," Kerry says.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Background: The Glasgow meeting is considered crucial for ensuring that the temperature targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement still have a chance of being met, specifically by having countries sign on to much more ambitious emissions cuts through 2030.

  • If Pope Francis does attend, it would be a first for what is known in UN lingo as a Conference of the Parties, or "COP," to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Such meetings typically attract environment ministers, rather than heads of state.
  • However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the summit that resulted in the Paris agreement, but even then, the Pope did not attend. In the past, the Vatican has been represented by other senior officials.

Context: The pope has taken a keen interest in climate change, and COP26 is taking place while the world is at a hinge point on the issue, with emissions still rising despite a global pandemic, with countries running out of time to meet the Paris Agreement's temperature targets.

Flashback: In 2015, Pope Francis released his encyclical on the subject, Laudato Si, which lays out his views on the relationship between humanity and nature, and his particular concern for how climate change affects the world's poor and vulnerable nations.

The bottom line: "I think his Holiness speaks with a moral authority that is quite separate. It's unique and we need all the power we can bring to the table," Kerry told the Vatican News.

Go deeper

Extreme weather defined Earth's hottest month

Expand chart
Reproduced from NOAA; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

July was the hottest month on record worldwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: When it comes to establishing new climate milestones, the Earth is on a roll, thanks in large part to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, as well as deforestation.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
45 mins ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.