Pope Francis has called on the executives of oil companies to switch to renewable sources of energy as he cautioned that climate change would soon put all of humanity at risk.
Yesterday, oil executives from across the globe gathered in the Vatican to attend a two-day conference regarding clean energy strategy. Today, the Pope said that climate change was considered to be a challenge of “epochal proportions.”
The conference was held behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Pope said to the participants: “Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation.”
He continued: “We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected. If we are to eliminate poverty and hunger … the more than 1bn people without electricity today need to gain access to it.”
He added: “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.”
The conference brought together investors, oil executives, and Vatican experts who, just like the Pope, believe that human activity is contributing to climate change.
Among the 50 participants who attended the said conference were Cand Bob Dudley, the group chief executive of BP, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italy’s ENI, Darren Woods, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, and the executives from Royal Dutch Shell, Pemex, and Equinor. Investors such as Larry Fink of BlackRock were also present.
Even in the past, the Pope has been very outspoken regarding environmental policy. He was promoting further implementation of clean energy. During the period of the Paris climate agreement of 2015, he said that it was “worrying” that explorations for fossil fuel reserves were still continuing.
In 2015, the Pope even published his own paper regarding protecting the environment. The paper was called Laudato Si (Praised Be), where he noted that “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”