Pope Francis to oil execs: Energy needs mustn't destroy civilization

          Pope to oil execs Energy needs must not destroy civilization

NETWORK Pope to oil execs Energy needs must not destroy civilization

"Yet even more worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground", Francis told the Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home conference.

He also pointed out that as many as 1 billion people lack electricity and that the world needed energy solutions that combated pollution, eliminated poverty and promoted social justice.

The unprecedented conference, held behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, brought together oil executives, investors and Vatican experts.

He also reserved sharp criticism for those firms searching for new oil and gas reserves despite scientific research suggesting two-thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must not be burnt if the world is to limit warming to below two degrees.

Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with Youth Eucharistic Movement at the Vatican in August 2015.

Pope Francis has urged oil company executives to switch to renewable sources of energy as he warned that climate change would put humanity at risk.

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

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.

In attendance at the conference were several major players in the oil and gas industry, according to Reuters, including ExxonMobil and Shell-both of which denied the reality of climate change in public for decades despite knowing privately about the threat soaring carbon emissions posed to the planet.

"The need to expand spaces for human activities can not be met in ways that would seriously endanger our own existence or that of other living species on earth", he said.

Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD, said: "The Holy Father wrote in Laudato Si" that he wanted to "enter into dialogue with all people about our common home'".

The oil and gas industry has come under growing pressure from investors and activists to play a bigger role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet goals set out in a 2015 climate agreement signed in Paris.

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

The Pope has long supported climate action.

"The effects of climate change are not evenly distributed".

In a separate development Saturday, the Vatican said a church court has indicted one of its top diplomats on a charge of possessing child pornography. 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.

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