Pope Francis to address oil majors in Vatican climate conference

Organised by the University of Notre Dame in the United States, the conference is expected to be attended by the heads, or senior executives of companies, including ExxonMobil, Eni, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Pemex.

Pope Francis strongly supported the Paris agreement on climate change.
Pope Francis strongly supported the Paris agreement on climate change.

The Vatican will host executives of the world’s top oil companies for a conference next week on climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels, according to a recent Reuters report.

Pope Francis is expected to address the group on the second day of the 8-9 June conference. Pope Francis had written a major document on protection of the environment from global warming in 2015.

Organised by the University of Notre Dame in the United States, the conference is expected to be attended by the heads, or senior executives of companies, including ExxonMobil, Eni, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Pemex, according to the report. CEOs of ExxonMobil, BP and Norway’s Equinor will attend the event.

In order to meet goals set out in a 2015 climate agreement signed in Paris, the oil and gas industry has come under increasing pressure from investors and activists to play a bigger role in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

To meet global targets of net zero emissions by the end of the century, companies are betting on increased demand for gas, the least polluting fossil fuel, and to a lesser extent on renewable power such as wind and solar.

The conference, under the theme ‘Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home’, will be held in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a 16th century villa in the Vatican gardens known as the Casina Pio IV.

In the 2015 document, titled ‘Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home’, Pope Francis, the first pope from a developing nation, advocated a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a ‘throwaway’ consumer culture and an end to an ‘obstructionist attitudes’ that sometimes put profit before the common good. In the six-chapter document, Pope Francis confronted head-on both climate change doubters and those who say it is not man-made, in several passages.

Pope Francis, who strongly supported the Paris agreement on climate change, implicitly criticised the United States for pulling out of the accord.

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