Pope Urges Oil Majors To Combat Global Warming

Pope warns oil executives: Climate change may ‘destroy civilization’ | TheHill

Pope warns oil executives: Climate change may ‘destroy civilization’ | TheHill

During a closed-door meeting with oil executives at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis gravely warned against further fossil fuel exploration and extraction, arguing that continued use of dirty energy could ultimately "destroy civilization".

"Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation", he told the participants of the conference held behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In an effort to stop climate change, the Pope said the world needs to make an effort to stop using fossil fuels and start using clean energy.

In 2015, his second encyclical was dedicated to the issue, describing it as "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day".

Pope Francis said that about a billion people are living without electricity and that lacking this basic need hinders their ability to move out of poverty, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He also reserved sharp criticism for those firms searching for new oil and gas reserves despite scientific research suggesting two-thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must not be burnt if the world is to limit warming to below two degrees.

"The transition to accessible and clean energy is a duty that we owe toward millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, poor countries and generations yet to come", the pope said.

He has long considered climate change as one of the key themes of his papacy.

In an era when the White House is viewed by many scientists as hostile to the very idea of climate change, with President Donald Trump announcing the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Francis is seen as an influential voice to nudge oil executives to take action on the issue.

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

In a globalized world in search of new sources of energy, over one billion people do not have electricity.

"If energy companies are serious about caring for our common home, they need to take the pope's advice and hurry up with shifting their priorities - and therefore their money - from fossil fuels to renewables", said Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at Catholic aid agency CAFOD in London.

"This is a challenge of epochal proportions". "Yet the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed". 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.

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