Pope tells oil majors to come clean on climate change.
Pope Francis has told a meeting of the world’s largest oil & gas companies to invest in clean energy.
Speaking at a two-day conference at the Vatican over the weekend, the Pope urged the fossil fuel executives to not jeopardise the planet’s future.
“Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,” he said.
The meeting was attended by over 50 oil & gas heads, including the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Equinor (formerly Statoil).
“Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty,” he said in a stalk warning to the gathered executives.
He went on to highlight that over one billion people still lacked access to electricity, but we needed to alleviate poverty in a way that doesn’t cause further damage to the Earth.
“Environmental and energy problems now have a global impact and extent,” he said, according to the Reuters news agency.
The Pope has been a longstanding advocate for tougher action on climate change and a regularly critic of business excesses. One of his first major acts upon taking up the position was to release a policy document calling for stronger action against environmental damage and climate change.
However, it remains to be seen if this latest high-level intervention will have its desired effect. Some of those present have been criticised for not doing enough to align their businesses with the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Exxon-Mobil and BP have both set new greenhouse gas targets, which will only see modest limitations in their emissions.
Notable absences from the Vatican meeting included Gazprom, Chevron, and Total.
Photo Credit: Jeon Han/Flickr
Press link for more: Climate Action Program