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Pope Will Meet with Oil Executives to Discuss Climate Change

Pope Francis waves duriong a visit to Maggiore Square in Bologna, Italy, October 1, 2017. (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)

Pope Francis will meet with a group of executives representing the largest oil producers and investment firms at the Vatican next week to discuss a coordinated response to climate change, Axios reported Friday.

News of the meeting, which will reportedly include representatives from BlackRock, BP, ExxonMobil, and others, comes exactly one year after President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, signaling that the U.S. would cede its position as a global leader on climate change to other nations as well as non-state actors.

Spurred by an increasingly robust clean-energy market and public pressure on corporations to fill the vacuum left by the Trump administration with respect to climate change, executives reportedly plan to embrace the message of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, “On Care for Our Common Home,” in developing strategies.

The meeting was reportedly organized with assistance from the University of Notre Dame, which declined to comment on its involvement.

“All along the way, we have said that any energy-related meeting involving the Vatican and Notre Dame would be a private dialogue among the attendees,” Leo Burke, director of the Notre Dame business school’s climate-investing initiative, told Axios.

Of the participating companies, only representatives from BP would speak on the record. BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said that CEO Bob Dudley is “looking forward to the Vatican dialogue. He believes gatherings of this kind help develop a better understanding of the energy transition and the best ways for corporations, countries, and wider society to participate in it.”

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