VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Faced with a climate emergency, the world must act immediately to mitigate global warming and avoid committing “a brutal act of injustice” on the poor and future generations, Pope Francis told a group of energy and oil executives and global investors.
“Time is running out! Deliberations must go beyond mere exploration of what can be done and concentrate on what needs to be done from today onward,” he said.
“We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits. The climate crisis requires our decisive action, here and now,” he said June 14 at the Vatican.
The pope spoke to leaders taking part in a conference June 13-14 on “Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home,” sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
It was the second private meeting — the first was in June 2018 — aimed at dialogue with invited executives of leading energy, petroleum and natural gas companies, global investment firms, climate scholars and academics.
Organizers said that participants this year included CEOs from Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.
Pope Francis thanked participants for returning for the second meeting, saying it was “a positive sign of your continued commitment to working together in a spirit of solidarity to promote concrete steps for the care of our planet.”
The dialogue was taking place during a “critical moment,” he said, because “today’s ecological crisis, especially climate change, threatens the very future of the human family, and this is no exaggeration.”
“For too long, we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis and ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain,'” he said, citing his encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”
It would be grossly unfair for future generations to inherit “a greatly spoiled world,” the pope said. “Pardon me if I want to underline this: They, our children, our grandchildren, should not have to pay, it is not right that they pay the cost of our irresponsibility.”
All dialogue and action must be rooted in the best scientific research available today, he said, pointing particularly to last year’s special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“That report clearly warns that effects on the climate will be catastrophic if we cross the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius” above pre-industrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement goal, the pope said.
The report, which outlined detailed ways to limit global warming, warned that “only one decade or so remains in order to achieve this confinement of global warming,” he added.
“Faced with a climate emergency,” the pope said, “we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations. We must take responsible actions bearing in mind their impact in the short and in the long term.”
Recognizing that “civilization requires energy,” he said that it is also important that energy use not destroy civilization.
“A radical energy transition is needed to save our common home,” he said, and the Catholic Church was “fully committed to playing her part.”
“There is still hope and there remains time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, provided there is prompt and resolute action,” he said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103