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 June 05, 2018
Pope Francis to Discuss Climate Change With Oil Company CEOs

 Oil company bosses will travel to the Vatican next week to discuss climate change with Pope Francis.

The meeting will be on June 8 and June 9 at the Casina Pio IV villa in the Vatican, with an audience with the Pope on the second day, according to a spokesman. It is being organized by a department headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped write Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical on climate.

"We look forward to the dialogue, and the opportunity to discuss how we can address climate change and opportunities in the energy transition," a spokesman for Equinor ASA, Norway's largest oil company, said in an emailed statement on Friday.

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley will also travel to Rome for the meeting arranged by the University of Notre Dame, according to people familiar with the talks. The Pope has made climate change a cornerstone of his papacy, saying in an encyclical letter that the science around the topic is clear and that the Catholic Church should view it as a moral issue.

A spokeswoman for BP declined to comment. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Eni SpA will also participate in the meeting, according to reports from Axios and Reuters. A spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell Plc declined to comment on whether its CEO would be involved.

The University of Notre Dame didn't respond to requests for comment.

"We're hopeful that this kind of dialogue can help develop solutions to the dual challenge of managing the risks of climate change while meeting growing demand for energy, which is critical to alleviating poverty and raising living standards in the developing world," Exxon said in an emailed statement. The company didn't say if its CEO or senior executives will attend the meeting.

The Vatican, which has diplomatic relations with over 180 countries and has permanent observer status at the United Nations, has strongly backed the Paris Climate Agreement. In December, the Pope's leading adviser on climate issues called for the European Union or China to fill the void left by the U.S. after Donald Trump's decision to pull the country out of the agreement.