Pope Francis won’t attend COP26 climate conference in Glasgow but will send delegation

Sharma in stitches as he's forced into Cop26 quiz

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Glasgow will only receive a delegation from the Vatican during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) that runs between next 31 October and 12 November. Cardinal Pietro Parolin will attend the conference as the Vatican secretary of state and represent Pope Francis.

A papal spokesman said: “Responding to journalists’ questions about the Holy See’s participation in the session of COP26, scheduled to take place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, the Delegation will be led by His Eminence Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness.”

The pontiff’s presence at COP26 was first hinted at by Scotland’s bishop back in July but was never confirmed by the Vatican.

Francis, 84, was hospitalized earlier this year and reportedly said on a Spanish radio network in September that he would love to come to Glasgow for the conference.

The Vatican has not confirmed whether the Pope’s current health was the reason behind his inability to come to Glasgow for the event.

The topic of climate change is massively important to the Pope.

He presided over a major event on Monday with other religious leaders to bring attention to the environment and the dangers of climate change.

The “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting brought together Christian leaders including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism.

“COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” Pope Francis said.

“We want to accompany it with our commitment and our spiritual closeness.”

In his written address, Francis said cultural and religious differences should be seen as a strength, not a weakness, in defending the environment.

“Each of us has his or her religious beliefs and spiritual traditions, but no cultural, political or social borders or barriers prevent us from standing together,” he said.

COP26 president Alok Sharma applauded the initiative organised by Britain, the Vatican and Italy.

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“The faith leaders who have come here today represent around 3/4 of the world’s population,” said Mr Sharma.

“That is by any measure a significant percentage of people across the globe and that’s why their voice matters so much.”

Pope Francis strongly supported the goals of the 2015 UN Paris accord to reduce global warming.

He told young people at the weekend that theirs was “perhaps the last generation” to save the planet.

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