“There is no time to lose”: Pope Francis warns oil executives on climate change
In an address to dozens of top oil executives, investors and industry experts, Pope Francis brought attention to the existential threats posed by climate change, and the urgent action that was needed to combat the global crisis.
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The leader of the Catholic Church offered an appeal as to why oil and gas conglomerates should, at long last, confront those threats, even as the Trump administration has accelerated an agenda in the opposite direction: Time is of the essence.
“The energy question has become one of the principal challenges, in theory and in practice, facing the international community,” Francis explained in a closed-door gathering at the Vatican on Saturday. “The way we meet this challenge will determine our overall quality of life and the real possibility either of resolving conflicts in different areas of our world or, on account of grave environmental imbalances and lack of access to energy, providing them with new fuel to destroy social stability and human lives.”
He continued, “There is no time to lose: We received the earth as a garden-home from the Creator; let us not pass it on to future generations as a wilderness.”
The pope went on to state that efforts by big oil companies to develop “more careful approaches to the assessment of climate risk” were “commendable.” However, he also questioned whether or not that progress was enough.
“Progress has indeed been made. But is it enough? Will we turn the corner in time?” Francis asked. “No one can answer that with certainty, but with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing.”
Francis said that poverty and the environment were the two great needs in the world today, and he invited those in attendance “to be the core of a group of leaders who envision the global energy transition in a way that will take into account all the peoples of the earth, as well as future generations and all species and ecosystems.”