Pope Francis Declares a Climate Emergency

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Stockholm (NordSIP) – At the end of last week the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, declared a climate emergency, endorsing the 1.5C limit on temperature rises and calling on governments and the private sector to do more to fight global warming.

“Future generations stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility,” said the Catholic Pontiff, in his strongest and most direct intervention yet on the climate crisis according to a statement by the Vatican. “Indeed, as is becoming increasingly clear, young people are calling for a change,” he explained, describing climate change as “a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations”

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The comments from Pope Francis followed two days of dialogue between senior Vatican officials, investors and energy company executives setting out a collective commitment to tackle climate change, Pope Francis addressed attendees by calling for “open, transparent, science-based and standardised reporting of climate risk.”

Georg Kell, Chairman of the Arabesque group, participated in the summit, alongside other leading global investors and oil and gas industry executives. To accelerate global transformation towards low carbon economies, all participants agreed in a signed statement to support ‘economically meaningful’ carbon pricing, and climate-related disclosure.

“In 2015, the world made a commitment to restrict global warming to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C,” Kell said at the Vatican. “To stand a chance of meeting these goals, a huge level of effort is required by companies across all sectors around the globe, and particularly those in the oil and gas sector. As investors, it is imperative we do all we can to ensure the Paris agreement is met, and that we work with energy leaders to transition towards a low carbon economy,” the Chairman emphasised. “It’s an honour to represent Arabesque at this week’s Vatican forum and, under the guidance of His Holiness Pope Francis, to work alongside other investors and sector leaders to take critical action against climate change. If we are to succeed, it will be for the wellbeing and security of all.”

Arabesque Asset Management is a quantitative asset management company. Prior to joining the Arabesque group’s Board in 2015, Georg Kell was the founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 10,000 corporate signatories in more than 160 countries.

Greenpeace activists were was unimpressed with the oil industry’s commitment according to media reports. “The oil majors knew all about the risk from climate change many years before most of us first heard about it. They knew where we were heading, they knew their products were the cause, and yet they kept it quiet and lobbied for business as usual,” said Mel Evans, climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK. “And they’re still lobbying for business as usual. When it comes to saving the planet they will do what they are forced to do, and no more, which is why we’re having to block them from drilling new oil wells as we speak. Expecting leadership from them is a path to certain disaster.”

“Time is running out! Deliberations must go beyond mere exploration of what can be done, and concentrate on what needs to be done, starting today. We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to step forward, or of prioritizing short-term economic benefits,” Pope Francis concluded.

Picture from Wikicommons

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