Pope Francis urges oil majors to combat global warming, aid poor

Lester Mason
June 11, 2018

Addressing participants at a meeting for executives in the oil and natural gas sectors, the pope urged his hearers to look to green energy as a key to humanity's future while continuing to stump for the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

"Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation", he said at the end of a two-day conference at the Vatican.

In his speech, the Pope told them that climate change was a challenge of "epochal proportions" and said that the world needs to come up with an energy mix that combats pollution, eliminates poverty and promotes social justice.

"We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected".

The academy's chancellor, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that speaking to the oil executives was important "because today they control the economy but also the policies of many countries, particularly in the G-20", he said, referring to the group of the world's major economies. "More worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground". He also warned that in an effort to bring energy sources to everyone, we must be careful not to raise global temperatures, damage the environment, or increase the number of people living in poverty.

Texas-based ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil and gas company, has called for a tax on carbon emissions as a way to reach the goals stated in the Paris Agreement.

Francis said Saturday that while the oil and gas companies have made progress toward cleaner fuel and more climate-friendly business practices, there was still more work to do.

Saturday's conference was reportedly meant as a follow up to an encyclical he published three years ago in which he called on people to save their "common home" from climate change and environmental disasters. But the pontiff said it wasn't enough, and that a radical transition to new forms of energy must happen now. In 2015, he penned an encyclical on climate change that said it is real and primarily the result of human activity. "No one can answer that with certainty", the pope said.

"Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization", he said. "But with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing". He noted that the poor pay the highest price for climate change, often being forced to migrate due to water insecurity, severe weather and an accompanying collapse in agriculture.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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