Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Pope to oil execs: Energy needs mustnt destroy civilization

Pope to oil execs: Energy needs mustnt destroy civilization

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". "Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization".

At a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pope called climate change a challenge of "epochal proportions", according to Reuters.

The Pope's meeting with the oil executives comes three years after he published his encyclical Laudato Si', in which he said global warming is a major threat to life on Earth and it is mainly caused by human activity.

It was exclusively dedicated to the climate change issues and entitled the topic as "One of the Principal Challenges facing Humanity in our Day". "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. It adds that the statement already included an "agreement to disagree" on climate change, with the USA refusing to sign a pledge to implement the Paris climate accord. He said that those responsible for the world's energy supplies should work to provide efficient energy for all people while protecting the planet, especially from climate change.

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

Paul J. Browne, a Notre Dame spokesman, said the university's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, had been inspired by the pope's 2015 encyclical, instructing "all schools and departments of the university to respond to Francis" evocative appeal on behalf of "our sister, ' the Earth". Despite the Paris agreement, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remained high. European leaders, Japan and Canada backed carbon pricing and a "just transition" to clean energy in the section that the United States refused to endorse, explains Climate Home News. And still, he said, as many as one billion people still lack electricity.

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". "It is the poor who suffer most from the ravages of global warming, with increasing disruption in the agricultural sector, water insecurity, and exposure to severe weather events", he said.

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