June 4, 2018
Pope Francis is hosting a gathering this week at the Vatican with executives of major oil producers and investment firms to discuss how their organizations can address climate change, Axios reported exclusively on June 1.
Three years ago, Pope Francis wrote his encyclical — a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church — on the importance of addressing climate change, a first in the church’s history.
Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, the meeting convened by the Pope promises to send a significant signal that the industry still intends to work with world leaders on global warming.
Among those who already have promised to attend are the following:
- Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager;
- Bob Dudley, CEO of BP;
- Multiple sources said ExxonMobil would be represented, although a company spokesman was unable to confirm that to Axios;
- Eldar Sætre, CEO of Equinor, an oil and energy producer partially owned by the Norwegian government (formerly Statoil);
- Ernest Moniz, former U.S. Energy Secretary under then-President Barack Obama; and
- Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP and current executive chairman of L1 Energy, an oil and gas investment firm.
The focus of the gathering, according to Axios, will be similar to that of the encyclical (“On Care For Our Common Home”)—with an emphasis on the energy transition of a “shared home.”
The news outlet notes that, while it surely will be a momentous and symbolic meeting, “it’s still just a meeting.” To what degree the Vatican gathering will prompt change and new developments remains a big question mark.
A 2018 poll by Gallup found that, although the POTUS is “all out” on climate change, the American public is “all in.” Fully 62% of U.S. adults contacted said that the government is doing too little about the environment—representing the highest percentage since 2006. The pollsters noted that the majority of Americans have prioritized the environment, even if it limits economic growth.
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