Pope Francis Did Not Mince Words With Oil Company Execs

“There is no time to lose” on climate change, he said.

Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with Youth Eucharistic Movement at the Vatican in August 2015. Gregorio Borgia/AP

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At a closed-door meeting at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis urged oil company executives to transition to clean energy, warning that climate change represents a challenge of “epochal proportions,” according to Reuters. “There is no time to lose,” he said.

“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 reportedly told the 50 or so oil company executives and investors at the meeting, held at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “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.”

Among those present were Darren Woods, the CEO of ExxonMobil, and Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, as well as investor Larry Fink. Pope Francis, who penned a 2015 encyclical on climate change, writing that it was both real and primarily human-caused, told the gathered executives, “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization.” He noted that while energy is necessary, it “should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels,” adding that providing clean energy is “a duty that we owe towards millions of our brothers and sisters around the world, poorer countries and generations yet to come.”

“Will we turn the corner in time?” the pope asked, according to the New York Times. “No one can answer that with certainty. But with each month that passes, the challenge of energy transition becomes more pressing.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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