VATICAN CITY, June 9 (Reuters) – Pope Francis warned that climate change risked destroying humanity on Saturday and called on energy leaders to help the world to convert to clean fuels to avert catastrophe.
“Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation,” 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.
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.
“We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected. If we are to eliminate poverty and hunger … the more than one billion people without electricity today need to gain access to it,” the pope told them.
“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.