Pope warns oil executives of 'catastrophic' consequences of fossil fuels

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

President Donald Trump will be leaving the G7 environmental summit early, but Pope Francis warned top oil executives on Saturday that climate change could "destroy civilization". The Pope told oil executives on Saturday during a two day conference at the Vatican that climate change could "destroy civilization".

Pope Francis has long shown a special interest in combating climate change, which he called a challenge of "epochal proportions" on Saturday.

It was exclusively dedicated to the climate change issues and entitled the topic as "One of the Principal Challenges facing Humanity in our Day".

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.

Among those summoned to a 16th-century villa in the Vatican gardens were the chairman of Exxon Mobil, and the chief executives of British Petroleum, the Italian energy company ENI, and Norway's Equinor, formerly Statoil.

Last month, a group of investors representing more than $10.4 trillion in assets published a letter in The Financial Times urging the oil and gas industry to "be more transparent and take responsibility for its emissions", which account for 50 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project, an organization based in London.

In 2015, he devoted his second encyclical on calling for policies to reduce emissions of polluting gases. "No one can answer that with certainty", the pope said.

Francis has been vocal on the issue of climate change before.

"Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest", Francis wrote.

He also said that the world must move toward using clean energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.

"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". That includes transitioning to efficient, clean energy sources. The US Energy Information Administration says, "Energy demand is set to rise to about twenty-eight percent between the period from 2015 to 2040".

He urged participants to use their "demonstrated aptitude for innovation" to address "two of the great needs in today's world: the care of the poor and the environment". 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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