After a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pope has called on oil executives to help the world convert to clean energy. He said the world needed an energy mix that combated pollution and eliminated poverty.
Pope Francis said on Saturday that climate change risked destroying humanity and asked energy leaders to help the world transition to less-polluting energy sources.
"Civilization requires energy but energy must not destroy civilization," the pope said at the end of a two-day conference with oil executives, investors and Vatican experts. He called the transition to cleaner energy sources "a challenge of epochal proportions."
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.
'Challenges are interconnected'
"We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected," the pope said. "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."
Francis said the transition to clean, accessible energy was "a duty that we owe towards millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, poorer countries and generations yet to come."
The conference took place behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. There were around 50 participants, including ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, BP's Bob Dudley, Eldar Saetre of Norwegian oil firm Equinor, Vicki Hollub of Occidental Petroleum and Claudio Descalzi, head of Italian energy company ENI.
The Vatican called the conference a follow-up to the pope's encyclical three years ago, which called on people to save the planet from climate change and other environmental ills.
dv/kms (AP, Reuters)