Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pope Urges Oil Majors To Combat Global Warming

Pope Urges Oil Majors To Combat Global Warming

Pope Francis met with oil and gas executives and investors in a closed-door session at the Vatican Saturday to sound the alarm on fossil fuels' dire threat to humanity and urgently called for greater efforts to develop alternative energy. Pope Francis, who penned a 2015 encyclical on climate change, writing that it was both real and primarily human-caused, told the gathered executives, "Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization".

Climate change was a challenge of "epochal proportions", he said, adding that the world needed an energy mix that combated pollution, eliminated poverty and promoted social justice.

"As we know, everyone is affected by the climate crisis", he declared.

He said that modern society with its "massive movement of information, persons and things requires an huge supply of energy", and still, he pointed out, as many as one billion people lack electricity. "More worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground". Failure to adequately address the issue will mean a "catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty", he said.

Francis spoke on the second day of a two-day closed-door conference that included numerous world's most influential oil executives and other energy sector players, including the CEOs from ExxonMobil, BP, Equinor of Norway, and Italy's Eni. Pope Francis strongly supported the Paris Climate Accord, and has implicitly criticized the United States for withdrawing from the agreement. The Pope said he kept contact with her throughout and later as bishop assisted her in her illness until her death at the age of 94.

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In 2015, Larry Fink, an investor for Blackrock, an American global investment management corporation, who was also at the meeting Saturday, wrote a document called "Laudato Si" (Praised Be) about protecting the environment from global warming. That includes transitioning to efficient, clean energy sources.

"Francis reminds us in his encyclical that "Business is a noble vocation", but also asks why anyone would want to be remembered for failing to act when the world's poorest people are being pushed deeper into poverty by climate change".

He also said that the world must move toward using clean energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. And still, he said, as many as one billion people still lack electricity.

Francis said that modern society with its "massive movement of information, persons and things requires an huge supply of energy".

He said that though the world is affected by climate change, it was the poor who would "suffer most from the ravages of global warming".

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