A game-changing gathering in the Vatican? Big oil and big finance agree on carbon-risk disclosure and CO2 pricing

20.06.2019 - Big Oil and Big Finance, convened by the Pontifical Academy of Science (PAS) for a dialogue on “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home”, agreed to join the efforts of science and society to contain the climate crisis. Pope Francis himself joined the distinguished meeting to address the high-ranking business representatives, referring to his papal Encyclical “Laudato Si” which contributed substantially to achieving the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. John Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and member of PAS, was the only climate scientist invited to the dialogue. He gave the opening lecture and played a crucial role in the making of the declarations signed by almost all participants.
A game-changing gathering in the Vatican? Big oil and big finance agree on carbon-risk disclosure and CO2 pricing

“Companies should provide clarity for investors about how they are planning and investing for the energy transitions,” one declaration reads. “Investors play a critical role through dialogue and feedback in supporting companies regarding appropriate disclosures on governance, strategy, and performance on climate-related risks.” Further, participants agreed that “reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing regimes, whether based on tax, trading mechanisms or other market-based measures, should be set by governments at a level that incentivizes business practices, consumer behavior, research, and investment to significantly advance the energy transition while minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth.”

These texts have been signed by the CEOs of ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, and many other representatives of the fossil-fuel extraction industry, as well as by representatives of eminent investment companies responsible for trillions of US Dollars, including the CEO of BNP Paribas Asset Management and the Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of Blackrock. They were sided by a number of experts on the issue.

“The 30-years war of climate denial is over for good,” said John Schellnhuber. “Parts of the fossil-fuel industry have for a long time tried to downplay the existential threat associated with anthropogenic global warming and fought against strong climate policy, but this is history now. They, as well as the big investors, have decided to join the race for sustainability, in order to secure humanity’s prosperity. Not everybody will move at the same speed, but it is sound science that provides the orientation. Together, we will work hard to ensure rapid greenhouse-gas reductions, so oil companies and investment firms live up to their promise.”

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