• Pope speaks at energy summit attended by oil and gas CEOs

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Making an unlikely appearance in the Combustion Industry News is the Vatican, which has been the site of an energy summit earlier this month attended by influential delegates such as the chief executives of BP, ExxonMobil, Equinor and Eni. The summit, entitled “Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home”, featured a speech from Pope Francis, who appeared to take both an understanding and admonishing tact, acknowledging that around a billion people in the world do not yet have access to electricity, and that oil and gas companies had taken commendable efforts in recent years in setting out plans to reduce their carbon emissions, but countering these points with the line that “Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization.” He went on to say that “…even more worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground.” The summit was hosted by the University of Notre Dame, whose president, the Reverend John Jenkins, praised the chief executives for sitting down with the Pope, who at times can be their “severest critic”. Also attending was Lord Browne, the former head of BP, who said “When you go to the Vatican and see the Pope, it changes the tone of the debate. It makes it much more serious, and much more real.” (He also noted that the transition to low-carbon energy production would take longer than many people expect.) It will be curious to see if the summit has any lasting impact on the direction taken by the various companies that took part.