The pope told oil executives on Saturday that climate change risks destroying civilization and that the world must reduce fossil fuel use, Reuters reported. Their remarks on the first day of the closed-door conference were not released by the Vatican.
The conference, organized by the University of Notre Dame in the United States, brought together executives from asset manager BlackRock, BP and Norwegian oil and energy company Equinor, among others.
"Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization", the pope said at the closed-door conference called, "Energy, Transition and Care for our Common Home".
An estimated one billion people have no access to electricity, and the US Energy Information Administration says energy demand is set to rise 28 percent between 2015 and 2040.
He also said that the world must move toward using clean energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
The pope said meeting the energy needs of everyone on the planet must be done in ways "that avoid creating environmental imbalances, resulting in deterioration and pollution that is gravely harmful to our human family, both now and in the future". "At the same time, it is an vast opportunity to encourage efforts to ensure fuller access to energy by less developed countries, especially in outlying areas, as well as to diversify energy sources and promote the sustainable development of renewable forms of energy".
Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with Youth Eucharistic Movement at the Vatican in August 2015.
"This is a challenge of epochal proportions", Francis continued. "At the same time it is an huge opportunity to encourage efforts to ensure fuller access to energy by less developed countries ... as well as diversifying energy sources and promoting the sustainable development of renewable forms of energy". Like the pope, they back scientific opinion that climate change is caused by human activity and that global warming must be curbed. 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.
Denouncing "unlimited faith in markets and technology" exuded by corporate executives in an effort to justify the disastrous status quo, the pontiff argued that a just transition to clean, renewable energy is "a duty that we owe towards millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, poorer countries, and generations yet to come".
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