Pope Francis and the Vatican hosted the Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home conference last week. The conference ended on Saturday, and the pontiff had some strong words for the fossil-fuel industry about so-called man-made climate change and its supposed effects on humanity.
The conference, which was organized by the University of Notre Dame, brought together leading executives from oil giants such as British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, Equinor of Norway, Pemex of Mexico, and many others. Also included in the conference were some of the world’s foremost asset managers and financiers. The event focused on the “necessity” to quickly transition from fossil fuels to greener forms of energy in order to combat global warming.
Climate activists converged on the Vatican in order to berate attendees about their abuse of Earth. “Oil CEOs would do well to find common cause with the pope and ensure that their skilled staff and deep balance sheets are deployed to ensure that business is a force for good,” said Nigel Topping of the organization We Mean Business, a non-profit that harasses businesses about climate change.
The pope was quite concerned with keeping the irrelevant Paris Climate Accord alive. “As you know, he said, in December 2015, 196 nations negotiated and adopted the Paris Agreement, with a firm resolve to limit the growth in global warming to below 2C, based on preindustrial levels, and, if possible, to below 1.5C. Some two-and-a-half years later, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases remain very high. This is disturbing and a cause for real concern.”
While noting that the world has an energy problem, and that more than a billion people do not have access to things as basic as electricity, Francis completely dismissed the easiest and most cost-effective way for the impoverished of the world to gain such access; namely fossil fuels. He declared, “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. But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction of 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.”
Like the doom-spewing climate alarmists, the pope has dropped all pretense of any debate on the idea of man-made global warming. He has accepted the apocalyptic notion of it as a fact and has jumped on the pseudo-scientific bandwagon, which conflates CO2 emissions with air pollution. “It is not right to sate that “thirst” [for energy] by adding to other people’s physical thirst for water, their poverty or their social exclusions. The need for greater and more readily available supplies of energy to operate machinery cannot be met at the cost of polluting the air we breathe,” the pope declared as he exhaled more CO2 into the atmosphere. “Pollutants do not act differently depending on geographical locations: they follow the same rules everywhere.”
While the pope is not wrong about air and water pollution killing thousands each and every day, he doesn’t seem to understand that carbon dioxide is not doing this. The conflation of CO2 emissions with pollution is galling to anyone who understands the relationship between CO2 and the very food we eat. The pope doesn’t need to listen to climatologists. He needs to listen to agronomists and farmers, who can tell him what the benefits of CO2 are. “Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,” the pope said, not seeming to understand that the civilization he worries about destroying was largely a product of the fossil fuels he is demonizing.
Photo of Pope Francis: Jeffrey Bruno