Pope urges climate action ‘here and now’

Vatican City: Pope Francis challenged oil executives to set aside short-term economic goals in a meeting at the Vatican on Friday, telling them that the world needs immediate action against climate change.
“Dear friends, time is running out,” the pope told the executives, according to remarks released by the Vatican.
“We cannot afford to prioritize short-term economic gains, nor the luxury of waiting for others to step forward. The climate crisis calls for our determined action, here and now, and the Church is fully committed to do its part,” he added.
The oil bosses and other participants issued a joint statement after the meeting calling for “sustained, large-scale action” and new technological solutions to fight global warming.
The group said they were willing to support “reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing regimes, whether based on tax, trading mechanisms or other market-based measures.”
However, they added that carbon pricing should be set a level consistent with “minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth.”
Participants included the chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Repsol, Eni, ConocoPhillips, Total, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, according to a list given by the Vatican.
The energy industry leaders met Francis at the end of a two-day conference that was titled “The energy transition and the care for our common home,” organised by the Vatican and the University of Notre Dame.
“Collectively, these leaders will influence the planet’s future, perhaps more than any in the world,” Father John I Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement.
Their papal audience took place on a Friday, a day which has become synonymous with the global “Fridays for Future” climate protests by young people.
Francis indirectly referred to the youth protests: “Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility.
Indeed, as is becoming increasingly clear, young people are calling for change,” he said.
Upon arriving at the Vatican, the oil executives were greeted by a handful of Fridays for Future protesters who held up banners and urged them to listen to the pope. Francis has green credentials: In 2015 he released “Laudato Si,” a landmark papal document on the environment.
— dpa