Pope Francis warned that climate change risked destroying humanity on Saturday and called on energy moguls to help the world to convert to clean fuels to avert catastrophe.
“Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,” the pope told top oil company executives at the end of a two-day conference in the Vatican.
Climate change was a challenge of “epochal proportions”, he said, adding that the world needed an energy mix that combated pollution, eliminated poverty and promoted social justice.
“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,” he said.
The conference, held behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, brought together oil executives, investors and Vatican experts who, like the pope, back scientific opinion that climate change is caused by human activity.