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Pope Francis waves to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Top energy and investment executives attending a conference last weekend hosted by Pope Francis at the Vatican agreed a price on carbon emissions was essential in transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, according to multiple officials at the meeting.

Why it matters: This takeaway underscores how this particular policy is cementing itself as the preferred path among global oil companies in addressing climate change — even while it remains far out of reach in Washington, D.C.

Between the lines: Some big producers, particularly ExxonMobil Corp., have been increasingly vocal about their support for a carbon tax, but so far their rhetoric hasn’t been backed up by active lobbying on the issue in Congress, whose GOP leaders generally oppose any such policy. On the other side of the Atlantic, Europe already has a carbon-pricing system.

Meeting details:

  • Ernest Moniz, energy secretary under President Obama, attended the meeting and said that “one of the areas of focus was carbon pricing to create market incentives for the transition to a low-carbon system,” according to an interview with MIT.
  • Specific details about carbon pricing, such as oil companies’ support for it in Congress, were not discussed, according to multiple meeting attendees.
  • "It needs to not disadvantage the already disadvantaged, that view come out quite strongly from the Vatican side. It needs to be progressive," said one official who attended the conference.
  • Three industry officials in the meeting said that — despite some narratives emerging indicating the pope lectured companies on climate change — it was a genuine two-way dialogue with church officials moderating the discussion more than anything. "Everybody recognized that you need to find a meaningful way to put a charge on carbon," said one meeting attendee.
  • A press release issued afterwards by one arm of the Vatican said technologies including carbon capture and low-cost renewables were among the discussion points.
  • President Trump wasn't mentioned, according to two officials. "I would say it was a very apolitical conversation," said one attendee.

What's next: Notre Dame University, which helped organize this meeting, has indicated it will discuss with participants, which includes CEOs of big oil producers, renewable energy companies and investors, about another meeting, said one participant, though no specific details have emerged on that yet.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

5 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."