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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

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.