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Pope gets on board with Volkswagen in bid to reduce carbon footprint at the Vatican

by Ros Mayfield

People driving an electric hire car in Italy may soon be able to charge it in Vatican City.

The Pope has struck a deal with Volkswagen, to introduce an all-electric, zero-impact car fleet.  Pope Francis set a goal three years ago, to achieve carbon neutrality at the Vatican by 2050.

Two years ago he traded in his ‘popemobile’ for a new battery-powered model.  The interior of the vehicle uses materials made from recycled bottles and plastics reclaimed from the ocean instead of leather.

A Vatican statement says the project will “renew the car fleet of the state with Volkswagen and Škoda brand cars, through the medium and long-term rental formula.” 

A network of charging stations will also be constructed, in the Vatican and elsewhere.

Pope Francis will become the first Pope to attend the UN’s international climate conference known as ‘COP’, when he travels to Dubai for their 28th annual meeting at the beginning of next month. 

He’ll join business leaders, young people, climate scientists, leaders of Indigenous People groups, and various other experts.

The pontiff has made ecological conservation one of the identifying themes of his papacy, and has openly criticised Western nations for their lukewarm response to the crisis. 

He recently welcomed the leader of Dr Sultan Al Jaber at the Vatican to discuss the role that faith leaders and faith-based organizations can play in promoting the U.N.’s climate objectives. 

Last month Francis released the second instalment of his defining Laudato Si’ document.  In it the Pope warned that the world we live in is collapsing and “may be nearing breaking point.”

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