Pope Francis: Tells Oils Execs Climate Change a Challenge of 'Epochal Proportions'

Pope Francis addressed several oil industry executives during a closed door climate change conference at the Vatican. The Pope expressed concerns about the economic and environmental fragility of the globe in relation to ongoing climate change. In this time when the work and findings of climate scientists are derided by some as a religious belief, the world, ironically to some, witnesses the religious leader of many of the world’s Christian followers echoing scientists’ concerns.

“Civilisation requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilisation,” he told the group.

“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.

“But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels. 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.”


Is the Pope defining climate change as a spiritual matter? That those in positions of governance and industry who have power to effect change will be morally responsible for their failure to heed the warnings from scientists? That the envisioned destruction of livelihoods and number of deaths perhaps to rival anything the world has ever seen is a ticket to hell for those who warned, were capable and did nothing?

As the saying goes, “You can have cheap, fast and accurate. Pick two.”

Pope’s statement says, “Gotta have energy. We have to eliminate poverty (so it has to be cost effective!). And it has to be clean.”

Pick two.

I think this is an interesting topic if a Catholic wants to shed insight or Christians of another stripe. It interests me where the Pope derives his conclusions and how much of a spiritual proclamation it represents. If one were to accept the Pope’s views as divinely informed then it seems arguable that the commandments to not steal and not to murder are in violation.

Cheap energy.

taking care of the earth is important, we shouldn’t destroy it due to our own greed.

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papal infallibility is limited not everything the Pope say is covered under it.

we are caretakers of the earth we must protect it.

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cheap energy.

Here is some background from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:

The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They “are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs” (USCCA). They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.

The seven Corporal Works of Mercy are:

Thus alleviating world poverty is part if the Christian mission. I cannot imagine people with zero electricity being anything but poor. (Apparently neither can the Pope.)

Thus alleviating poverty will by defintion, mean adding a billion people to the power grids. It will entail AT LEAST a 1/6 (16% increase in world electricity demand.)

If the prevailing view of global warming is is correct then increasing power consumption by 16% presents a very large challenge.


Whether correct or not, the current view of global warming does provide a convenient excuse to keep those people off the grid and in poverty.

Imagine if they have cars.

If they do, I’ll bet they are not priuses

I wonder if Saudi, Russian, Mexican,and Chinese oil execs were included in the Pope’s audience.

Here is wiki’s list of the world’s 11 largest oil producers (by revenue).

Hopefully Pope Francis directed his comments to the Saudis and the Chinese. :smile:

Thank you everyone for addressing the topic with a spiritual take.