Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the architects of "Laudato Si'", as the pope's encyclical is known, opened the conference Friday at Casino Pio IV, a villa that houses the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
"Civilization requires energy, but energy must not destroy civilization", he implored.
Speaking after a two-day conference at the Vatican which assembled executives, investors and experts to discuss climate change, Pope Francis said that energy access for all is necessary to eliminate poverty and hunger.
Francis said Saturday that while the oil and gas companies have made progress toward cleaner fuel and more climate-friendly business practices, there was still more work to do.
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The pope said meeting the energy needs of everyone on the planet must be done in ways "that avoid creating environmental imbalances, resulting in deterioration and pollution that is gravely harmful to our human family, both now and in the future". European leaders, Japan and Canada backed carbon pricing and a "just transition" to clean energy in the section that the United States refused to endorse, explains Climate Home News. And he told those gathered at the Vatican, "there is no time to lose".
In 2015, his second encyclical was dedicated to the issue, describing it as "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day". He also warned that in an effort to bring energy sources to everyone, we must be careful not to raise global temperatures, damage the environment, or increase the number of people living in poverty.
Many had complied, he said, including by expediting plans to stop coal burning at the university power plant. "At the same time, it is an vast opportunity to encourage efforts to ensure fuller access to energy by less developed countries, especially in outlying areas, as well as to diversify energy sources and promote the sustainable development of renewable forms of energy". "It is the poor who suffer most from the ravages of global warming, with increasing disruption in the agricultural sector, water insecurity, and exposure to severe weather events", he said.
"The effects of climate change are not evenly distributed". That is a contradiction Francis highlighted Saturday, telling executives that commercial exploration for new sources of fossil fuels was "even more worrying' than the current levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere".
"We received the land as a garden from the Creator, let us not pass it on to future generations in the form of the desert", - concluded the Pope.