Pope talks oil companies into supporting carbon pricing – right now

Many of the world’s leading oil producers announced their support for carbon pricing schemes following Pope Francis’s plea for a “radical energy transition” during a climate summit at the Vatican on Friday.

The Vatican joined oil companies, investors and environmentalists in signing a statement endorsing “carbon pricing” and so-called “climate disclosures” to shareholders.

Francis, oil giants and others endorsed carbon pricing — usually in the form of taxes or cap-and-trade schemes — at the end of a closed-door meeting at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

During the summit preceding the meeting, Francis had explained to them and other participants that climate change “threatens the very future” of humanity.

The “doomsday predictions” can no longer be met with disdain. “Time is running out!” he urged.

“Deliberations must go beyond mere exploration of what can be done and concentrate on what needs to be done.

“We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward, or of prioritising short-term economic benefits.

“The climate crisis requires our decisive action, here and now, and the Church is fully committed to playing her part,” he said.

This is the second year that oil executives have gathered in Rome at the invitation of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Notre Dame University’s Mendoza College of Business.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Energy Transition and Care for our Common Home”.

Francis said a significant development in this past year was the release of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This warns that effects on climate will be catastrophic if the threshold of 1.5ºC outlined in the Paris Agreement goal is crossed.

“The report warns … that only one decade or so remains in order to achieve this confinement of global warming,” Francis said.

“We must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations.

“The poor bear the brunt of the climate crisis,” he noted.

Francis said courage will be needed to respond to “the increasingly desperate cries of the earth and its poor”.

He also said a just transition to cleaner energy, which is called for in the Preamble to the Paris Agreement, could generate new jobs, reduce inequality and improve the quality of life for those affected by climate change.

In addition, carbon pricing is “essential if humanity is to use the resources of creation wisely”.

Finally Francis said that, in relation to transparency in reporting climate risk, “open, transparent, science-based and standardized reporting is in the common interests of all”.

He finished on an optimistic note saying: “there is still hope and there remains time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change provided there is prompt and resolute action…”


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