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Gavin Newsom, during his speech, accuses Trump of “open corruption”

Gov. Gavin Newsom accused former President Donald Trump of “open corruption” in a speech Thursday at a climate summit bringing together Catholic and international leaders, raising his criticism of the Republican leader in the sacred halls of the Vatican.

The California governor referenced news reports alleging that Trump recently solicited campaign donations from oil executives and, at the same event, pledged to roll back climate protection if elected in the 2024 presidential election.

“He openly asked them for $1 billion to roll back the environmental progress of the Biden administration, the environmental progress that we’ve made over the last half century,” Newsom said. “Open corruption. A billion dollars to pollute our states, to pollute our country, to pollute this planet and roll back progress.

The governor spoke at a three-day summit “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience” organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Newsom’s appearance and comments will likely elevate his position as a climate leader on the world stage, and his speech received a round of applause from the international gathering of governors, mayors and policy experts.

As temperatures and carbon emissions rise around the world, the goal of the conference is to enable local and state governments to share best practices in combating climate change and adapting to warmer temperatures , rising seas and a more volatile environment.

Newsom’s speech also matched the tenor of a critique of the oil industry he delivered last fall at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit in New York.

“It’s because of the burning of gas, the burning of coal, the burning of oil,” Newsom said at the Vatican. “We have the tools. We have the technology. We have the capacity to solve the problem on a global scale and they have fought against every advance and we must call it out.

Bob Salladay, Newsom’s top communications adviser, said his frank assessment of the industry earlier in New York, which he said was fooling everyone, had caught the attention of the Vatican and was one of reasons why he was invited to speak at the climate summit. .

The setting of his speech, in a carpeted auditorium at the Vatican that typically hosts gatherings of bishops, stood in stark contrast to the marble floors and Renaissance murals that lined the Clementine Room, where Newsom spoke with Pope Francis Thursday morning.

In a speech to government leaders and climate scientists at Clementine Hall, Pope Francis called environmental destruction an offense against God.

“This is the question: are we working for a culture of life or for a culture of death? » declared Pope Francis.

Newsom and his wife, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, were seated in the second row of the audience in an apostolic palace near St. Peter’s Basilica.

The body of a pope is placed in the room for private viewings upon his death. It’s also the same room that former President Obama visited in 2009.

Pope Francis has called the failure to protect the most vulnerable who are exposed to climate change caused by human activity a “grave violation of human rights.”

He said about a billion people in the richest countries “produce more than half of the heat-trapping pollutants” in the world. The poorest, he explained, contribute less than 10% and suffer 75% of the resulting damage.

Pope Francis thanked the participants for their efforts towards the transition to climate resilience through equity and social justice.

After the speech, Newsom and Siebel Newsom walked along an aisle of ornate stone tiles to the front of the hall, where the governor spoke briefly with the pope. The governor said Pope Francis praised his administration’s work on the death penalty.

Newsom issued a moratorium on the death penalty and closed California’s execution chambers in 2019.

A procession of participants also greeted the Pope, who took the time to shake the hands of everyone present in the room.

The pope signed a planetary pact at the end of his speech, which Newsom and other government leaders also signed on Thursday.

Wade Crowfoot, California’s natural resources secretary, described the pact as an unprecedented agreement between international governors, mayors, indigenous leaders and scientists to work together to address climate change with a focus on resilience and equity. .

Crowfoot and Lauren Sanchez, Newsom’s top climate adviser, also participated in hours of meetings at the conference Wednesday and spoke on a panel with other U.S. state officials.

Newsom is hosting a national climate summit in Southern California this fall, building on the work of the Vatican conference. The state will invite local leaders and experts from California.

“We will bring the torch of subnational leadership back to California, where it belongs, to bring together scientists, local governments and leaders to combat the climate threat that constitutes the existential crisis of our time,” Sanchez said.

California Daily Newspapers

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