Pope Francis on Saturday warned top oil executives that climate change could “destroy civilization.”
Reuters reported that during a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pope said that climate change is a challenge of “epochal proportions,” adding that the humanity must focus on using clean energy and put larger efforts on reducing the use of fossil fuels.
“Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,” Pope Francis said.
The conference was organized by the University of Notre Dame and as participants had executives from asset manager BlackRock, BP and Norwegian oil and energy company Equinor, among others.
The event was motivated by Pope Francis’ 2015 papal encyclical when he blamed humans for climate change and criticized world leaders for not putting enough effort to address it.
The conference is also a sort of response to President Donald Trump’s pulling out the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.
Trump on several occasions has said that global warming is a “hoax” for which he was faced with harsh criticism from the science community.
The President was also accused of filling his administration with officials who also deny the human role in climate change.
The pope during his meeting with Trump gave him a copy of the encyclical asking him to share it with his EPA officials.
The pope on Saturday also said that global issues like poverty are “interconnected” to concerns about global warming and access to electricity.
“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,” he said.
“But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels,” he added.
“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.”