Pope to oil execs: Energy needs mustn’t destroy civilization

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          Pope to oil execs Energy needs must not destroy civilization

NETWORK Pope to oil execs Energy needs must not destroy civilization

Pope Francis gathered a number of oil executives and money managers at the Vatican on Saturday to discuss the environment and clean energy. Coming up with an adequate energy mix is critical to fight pollution and poverty while promoting social equality, he said An alliance must be formed, he said, to confront what he called the two great fragilities in the world: Poverty and the environment.

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

Today, on an average one billion people are devoid of electrical supply.

"But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels", he said, adding that a side effect of increasing access to energy can not be "the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes".

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. It adds that the statement already included an "agreement to disagree" on climate change, with the U.S. refusing to sign a pledge to implement the Paris climate accord.

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Environmental degradation and climate change hurt the poor most of all, he said, telling the group to consider the impact of their economic decisions.

Francis, who wrote a major document called "Laudato Si" (Praised Be) on protecting the environment from global warming in 2015, said it was "worrying" that there still was a continuing search for new fossil fuel reserves.

The Paris Agreement - from which President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2017 - set out a global action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels. But the pontiff said it wasn't enough, and that a radical transition to new forms of energy must happen now. "No one can answer that with certainty", the pope said.

The Rev. Seamus P. Finn, a participant at a conference in 2013 that brought mining companies to the Vatican, said that exercise had been useful for the industry and the Vatican "to better understand each other", and that follow-up meetings had "deepened the quality of the conversation". 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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