Pope Francis said on Friday that carbon pricing was “essential” to stem global warming, his clearest statement to date in support of the practice.
In an address to energy executives at the end of a two-day meeting, he also called for “open, transparent, science-based and standardised” reporting of climate risk and a “radical energy transition” away from carbon to save the planet.
Carbon pricing, via taxes or emissions trading schemes, is used by many governments to make energy consumers pay for the costs of using the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming, and to spur investment in low-carbon technology.
The Vatican did not release the names of those who attended the closed-door meeting at its Academy of Sciences, a follow-up to one a year ago, but industry sources said the companies represented were believed to be industry giants Eni, Exxon, Total, Repsol, BP, Sinopec, ConocoPhillips, Equinor and Chevron.
A small group of demonstrators gathered outside a Vatican gate. One held a sign reading “Dear Oil CEOs – Think of Your Children”.
Francis, who has made many calls for environmental protection and has clashed over climate change with leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, said the ecological crisis “threatens the very future of the human family”.
He implicitly criticised those who, like Trump, deny that climate change is mostly caused by human activity.
“For too long we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis, and doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain,” he said, adding that discussion of climate change and energy transition must be rooted in “the best scientific research available today”.