Boston/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 21, 2024
Massachusetts Leaders Sign Climate Resilience Pact Blessed by Pope Francis at Vatican SummitSource: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Official Website

Massachusetts is stepping up its game in the fight against climate change, and it's doing so with a blessing from the Vatican. Last week, Governor Maura T. Healey, Boston Mayor Michele Wu, and UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco inked the Planetary Action for Climate Change Resilience, making a bold statement of commitment in front of an international audience. This far-reaching climate resilience pact follows their participation in a three-day global summit at the Vatican, where Pope Francis himself was a driving force for urgent action.

According to a release from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Governor Healey was the first Governor to sign the document, with Mayor Wu setting the pace for Mayors worldwide. "Climate change impacts the entire world, and it is essential that we work together with the urgency that this challenge demands to build resiliency in all of our communities," Healey stated, emphasizing the importance of unity in facing this crisis.

Mayor Wu echoed the sentiment, recognizing the global examples of climate action presented at the summit. "After hearing so many inspiring examples of community organizing, technological advances, and local innovation for sustainability, now is the time for collective action to amplify and multiply our progress," Wu said, signaling Boston's readiness to lead in this endeavor.

Chancellor Suárez-Orozco, who played a part in crafting the action plan and hosted the summit under the patronage of His Holiness, underscored the importance of sharing Boston's practices. "Under Governor Healey’s statewide leadership and Mayor Wu’s leadership in Boston, we are an international climate resilience model," Suárez-Orozco highlighted. Chief Hoffer, Massachusetts Climate Chief, shared insights from the summit experience and Massachusetts' role in global environmental leadership, committing to continued international collaboration to tackle the climate emergency.

Within Planetary Action, the call for societal transformation is clear and immediate. The Commonwealth's document reads, "Our aim is to enlighten and galvanize societies worldwide into prompt, unified action against climate change and for climate resilience." The message hinges on policy, education, and behavioral changes, emphasizing the need for urgent and coordinated global efforts.

Pope Francis, during an audience with the summit participants, stressed the imperative to act decisively for the protection of people and nature. He called for universal approaches to climate change, rapid emission reductions, and embracing decarbonization. The Pope also spoke on the need for new financial plans to respond to climate catastrophes.

As a follow-up to the Vatican event, Governor Healey announced plans to host a summit in Massachusetts this fall to work on state-specific resilience strategies. The forthcoming summit will gather local leaders from across the state to synchronize adaptation, transformation, and financing plans.