Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, Pope Francis has called for support for the transition towards clean energy and the abandonment of fossil fuels.

The Pope said that fossil fuel phase-out “is not progressing at the necessary speed”.

COP28 will be held in Dubai in December, which is expected to see global negotiations on the phase-out of all fossil fuels, which Pope Francis described as “an urgent and necessary step” towards meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The overarching goal of the agreement is to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C, above pre-industrial levels and limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

World leaders have stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5° by the end of this century.

Pope Francis pointed towards oil and gas companies continuing to carry out new projects, and said that this was despite the International Energy Agency recently confirming that no new oil, gas, or coal fields are compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°.

Global campaigns manager at Oil Change International, Mariam Kemple Hardy said that Pope Francis’ comments “adds to an increasingly loud chorus of voices” surrounding fossil fuels.

She said that some of the “world’s richest nations are risking our future” by the slow phase-out of fossil fuels.

“It is inexcusable for countries with high incomes and outsized historical responsibility for causing the climate crisis, to drill for more fossil fuels while claiming to be climate leaders and asking others to phase out their own fossil fuels,” she said.

“They must move first and fastest to phase out their production and pay their fair share to fund a just global energy transition,” Kemple Hardy said.

“Global leaders meeting in Dubai for COP28 must heed the Pope’s call to agree to a just and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels and a transition to renewable energy, with adequate financial support for impacted countries. Unless it does so, COP28 will be a failure,” she said.