Antonio Guterres warns that ‘dangerous doubling’ of coal, oil and gas by major economies will exacerbate climate change.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accused some wealthy countries of taking a dangerous flight to fossil fuels in response to the war in Ukraine, warning that the new investments in coal, oil and gas are “insane” given their impact on climate change .
“The energy crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine has led to a dangerous doubling of fossil fuels by major economies,” Guterres said in a video address at Austria’s World Summit, a climate conference in Vienna, on Tuesday.
The meeting marks the first major gathering of its kind since the last United Nations climate conference – COP26 – held in Glasgow, Scotland, last November. Critics said the summit failed to deliver the measures needed to tackle the climate crisis.
Meanwhile, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some countries have switched to buying more non-Russian fossil fuels or investing in new oil and gas fields to maintain their energy supplies.
For example, Germany and the Netherlands announced plans this month to develop a new gas field in the North Sea, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Germany wants to continue gas projects with Senegal.
QatarEnergy’s state-owned North Field East company is expanding as part of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, and the United Kingdom is funding an LNG project in Mozambique.
Scientists warn that significant emission reductions are needed
Guterres said “new funding for fossil fuel exploration and production is delusional” and will exacerbate global problems of pollution and climate change.
Scientists say global carbon dioxide emissions must be roughly halved by 2030 and net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change, amid efforts to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius ( 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and preferably to less than 1.5 C (2.7F) from pre-industrial levels in accordance with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The countries making new investments in fossil fuels have targets for reducing CO2 emissions by 2030. Germany has said diversifying its gas supplies in the near term would not derail its climate plans to ultimately reduce fossil fuel use. and meet a new ambitious renewable energy target that began since the Russian invasion.
The International Energy Agency has called for an end to new oil, gas and coal projects to meet global climate targets, saying investments in renewable energy should triple by 2030. Guterres called on financial actors to fund renewables.
“Had we invested massively in renewable energy in the past, we wouldn’t be so dramatically at the mercy of the instability of fossil fuel markets today,” he said, pointing out that rising oil and gas prices have hurt energy bills around the world. to rise.
Guterres also urged increased funding for poorer countries facing the impacts of climate change, saying efforts to adapt to warming temperatures should be as much of a priority as plans to cut carbon emissions. Reduce.
The next major global climate conference – COP27 – will take place in Egypt in November in Sharm el-Sheikh.