In remarks delivered to the Austrian World Summit in Vienna through video, Antonio Guterres issued a sobering evaluation of the planet’s prospects. “Most national climate pledges are simply not good enough,” he mentioned.
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The U.N. Secretary General has slammed new funding for fossil gas exploration, describing it as “delusional” and calling for an abandonment of fossil gas finance.
In remarks delivered through video to the Austrian World Summit in Vienna, Antonio Guterres issued a sobering evaluation of the planet’s prospects.
“The energy crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine has seen a perilous doubling down on fossil fuels by the major economies,” he mentioned on Tuesday.
“The war has reinforced an abject lesson: our energy mix is broken,” Guterres mentioned. “Had we invested massively in renewable energy in the past, we should not be so dramatically at the mercy of the instability of fossil fuel markets now.”
Concerns associated to each the vitality transition and vitality safety have been thrown into sharp reduction by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the value of each oil and fuel persevering with to surge in current months.
Russia is a big provider of each, and quite a few main economies have formulated plans to scale back their reliance on its hydrocarbons in current months. This want to maneuver away from Russian imports has led to some difficult conditions.
In May, the European Commission fleshed out particulars of a plan to ramp up the EU’s renewable vitality capability and scale back its reliance on Russian fossil fuels. It concurrently acknowledged that current coal services could have for use for “longer than initially expected.”
Coal has a considerable impact on the setting and the U.S. Energy Information Administration lists a variety of emissions from its combustion. These embrace carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxides.
Elsewhere, Greenpeace has described coal as “the dirtiest, most polluting way of producing energy.”
In his speech to the summit in Vienna, the U.N.’s Guterres highlighted the “crippling prices” at the moment being skilled by companies and households. “Our world faces climate chaos,” he added.
“New funding for fossil fuel exploration and production infrastructure is delusional,” he mentioned. “It will only further feed the scourge of war, pollution and climate catastrophe.”
The former prime minister of Portugal additionally known as on “all financial actors to abandon fossil fuel finance” and put money into renewables as an alternative.
“The only true path to energy security, stable power prices, prosperity and a livable planet lies in abandoning polluting fossil fuels — especially coal — and accelerating the renewables-based energy transition,” he mentioned.
Renewable vitality sources, Guterres argued, had been “the peace plan of the 21st century.” He outlined a method that will, he claimed, “jumpstart the renewable energy transition.”
This included a tripling of investments in renewables, transferring vitality subsidies away from fossil fuels to renewables, and fast-tracking approvals for wind and photo voltaic tasks.
On the planet’s future, Guterres delivered an pressing rallying name.
“The window to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis is closing fast,” he mentioned. “Our planet has already warmed by as much as 1.2 degrees.”
“To keep the 1.5-degree goal within reach,” he mentioned, “we must reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by mid-century. But current national commitments will lead to an increase by almost 14% this decade.”
Guterres’ reference to 1.5 levels Celsius pertains to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting international warming “to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”
In a nod to a current report from the International Energy Agency, he additionally famous that 2021 had seen energy-related international CO2 emissions leap by 6% in 2021. “Let me be blunt,” he mentioned. “Most national climate pledges are simply not good enough.”
Guterres’ feedback signify his newest intervention within the dialogue about local weather change and the way forward for the vitality sector.
In March, he mentioned the planet had emerged from final yr’s COP26 local weather summit in Glasgow with “a certain naïve optimism” and was “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe.”
In the identical speech, he additionally mentioned coal was a “stupid investment — leading to billions in stranded assets.”