Pope Francis met with oil and gas executives and investors in a closed-door session at the Vatican on Saturday to sound the alarm on fossil fuels’ dire threat to humanity and urgently call for greater efforts to develop alternative energy.
“There is no time to lose,” the pontiff told them. “This is a challenge of epochal proportions. Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization.”
He praised business leaders for “adjusting their business practices” to reduce emissions as climate change worsens. But the pontiff said it wasn’t enough, and that a radical transition to new forms of energy must happen now. Failure to adequately address the issue will mean a “catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty,” he said.
“With each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing,” Francis warned, according to a transcript of his speech provided by the Vatican. “Serious efforts be made to transition to a greater use of energy sources that are highly efficient while producing low levels of pollution.”
He asked ominously: “Will we turn the corner in time? No one can answer that with certainty.”
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