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Pope hopes to attend COP26 climate summit: Vatican

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Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing, after celebrating Easter Mass on April 04, 2021 at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / POOL / AFP)

Pope Francis, who has repeatedly called for action against climate change, is hoping to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, the Vatican said Tuesday.

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His team hope to arrange his trip to coincide with that of the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

“We are hoping and we are keeping our fingers crossed. The request has been made and addressed to him (Francis),” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, who leads on environmental issues at the Vatican.

“Right now, I cannot confirm any such participation,” he told reporters.

He added that contact had also been made with Bartholomew’s office and “they will want to synchronise the dates and try to be there together”.

US special climate envoy John Kerry raised the prospect of the pope’s presence in Glasgow when the two men met earlier this month.

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He said the pontiff was a “convincing moral authority on the issue of the climate crisis”.

COP26 will gather climate negotiators from 196 countries and the European Union, along with businesses, experts and world leaders in the Scottish city of Glasgow between November 1-12.

Host Britain, which was forced to delay the summit last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, says it wants to host a physical summit.

However, while Britain’s infection rate has fallen to low levels in recent weeks, the virus is still raging in many parts of the world.

The pope has called climate change “one of the principal challenges facing humanity” today. He has rebuked industrialised countries most responsible for the crisis, while speaking up for the poor in developing countries who will feel its worst effects.

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