Quantcast

Pope Urges Oil Companies to Lead Clean Energy Transition in Unprecedented Vatican Conference

Energy
Pixabay

Pope Francis urged the leaders of big oil companies to see the light on climate change at a first-of-its kind conference held at the Vatican with oil executives, investors and Vatican experts, The Guardian reported Saturday.

"Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation," the pope said during remarks at the end of the conference, according to The Guardian.


The current pope, who has emerged as a leader in the fight against climate change following his groundbreaking 2015 encyclical, urged the companies to lead the transition towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.

He said they should strive "to be the core of a group of leaders who envision the global energy transition in a way that will take into account all the peoples of the earth, as well as future generations and all species and ecosystems," The New York Times reported.

The pope also spoke with a great sense of urgency about the coming crisis. "There is no time to lose," he said, according to The New York Times.

"Will we turn the corner in time? No one can answer that with certainty," the pope said. "But with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing."

The meeting, held Saturday behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, included big names in the oil industry like the chairman of Exxon Mobil, the chief executive of BP, the chief executive of the Italian energy company Eni and representatives of Royal Dutch Shell, Norway's Equinor and Mexico's Pemex, according to The New York Times and the BBC.

In recent years, oil companies have switched from outright hostility to climate science to taking action on climate change. Exxon Mobil, for example, who funded climate denial think tanks between 1998 and 2005 to the tune of $16 million, has since endorsed the Paris agreement.

But while the pope commended companies for the efforts they are making, he also said those efforts did not go far enough.

Pope Francis also focused on the social justice aspects of climate change, saying it would harm the poor disproportionately, and that clean energy was essential to bringing people out of poverty without disrupting the climate they depend upon.

"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, according to The Guardian.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

California Condor at soaring at the Grand Canyon. Pavliha / iStock / Getty Images

North America's largest bird passed an important milestone this spring when the 1,000th California condor chick hatched since recovery efforts began, NPR reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less
The Roloway monkey has been pushed closer to extinction. Sonja Wolters / WAPCA / IUCN

The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

The campaign to re-elect President Donald Trump has found a new way to troll liberals and sea turtles.

Read More Show Less
Night long exposure photograph of wildifires in Santa Clarita, California. FrozenShutter / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristy Dahl

Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A Zara store in Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Timahaowemi / CC BY-SA 3.0

Green is the new black at Zara.

The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Whether you enjoy running recreationally, competitively, or as part of your overall wellness goals, it's a great way to improve your heart health.

Read More Show Less
Text from the plaque that will mark the site where Ok glacier once was. Rice University

By Andrea Germanos

A climate change victim in Iceland is set to be memorialized with a monument that underscores the urgent crisis.

Read More Show Less