Read in this article
- World Meteorological Organization report warns of worsening climate crisis
- The United Nations calls for an end to dependence on fossil fuels and an acceleration of the transition to renewable energy
- The global energy system is broken, and it will cause a climate catastrophe
- The United Nations proposes 5 measures to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy
- Renewable energy sources are the future, and are a project for peace in the 21st century
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, called for the necessity of ending the era of fossil fuels and accelerating the transition to renewable energy before the climate crisis worsens, exposing humanity to a needless catastrophe.
Guterres’ comments came in response to the World Meteorological Organization’s report on the state of the global climate for 2021.
The report documents climate change indicators, including greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise and ocean temperatures, noting that these indicators recorded record levels in 2021.
Accordingly, Guterres proposed 5 critical actions to start the transition to renewable energy and move energy systems away from fossil fuels as soon as possible.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the report is bleak evidence of humanity’s failure to address the climate crisis, after sea levels set alarming records last year, along with extreme temperatures over the past two decades, according to a statement published by the United Nations Convention website. framework on climate change.
He continued, “The global energy system is damaged, and it brings us closer to a climate catastrophe. The fossil fuel industry is at an environmental and economic impasse.”
“The war in Ukraine and its direct impact on energy prices is another wake-up call, so it is necessary to end fossil fuels and speed up the transition to specific energy, before our planet is destroyed,” he added.
Guterres still maintains an optimistic view of addressing the climate crisis, if the world takes serious steps and begins to act within this decade.
He said that the world must move in this decade to prevent the ever-worsening climate impacts, and to keep the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Secretary-General believes that the transformation of energy systems is the easiest way, especially since renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar energy, are available and are cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels.
In his statements, he pointed out that the cost of wind energy has fallen by more than half over the past decade, in addition to the decrease in the cost of solar energy and batteries by 85%, stressing that investment in renewable energy sources creates 3 times more jobs than the fossil fuel sector.
Suggestions to speed up the transformation
The Secretary-General of the United Nations believes that renewable energy is the only way to achieve energy security, price stability and sustainable job creation, and has proposed 5 critical actions to transition to and rely on renewable energy.
Renewable energy technologies, such as battery storage, come at the top of the five proposals, and the need to use them as essential global public goods that are freely available, and remove all obstacles to the exchange of knowledge and technology, he said.
“Renewable electricity storage is often cited as the biggest obstacle to the clean energy transition, so I am calling for a global battery storage coalition to accelerate innovation and deployment, one that will be led by governments, bringing together companies, manufacturers and financiers,” he said.
As for the second proposal, it includes securing, increasing and diversifying the supply chains of renewable energy technologies, components and basic raw materials, instead of concentrating them in a few countries – currently -.
This will be achieved through global coordination, governments investing in skills training, research and innovation, as well as building supply chains.
The third proposal depends on governments, and calls for building frameworks and reforming bureaucratic systems, to pave the way for renewable energy sources, especially since these systems in many countries of the world still support the harmful fossil fuel industry.
In this regard, Guterres said, obstacles to renewable energy projects must be removed, from red tape and permits to network connectivity.
“I call on governments to expedite and facilitate approvals for solar and wind projects, upgrade grids, and set ambitious renewable energy targets – aligned with the 1.5°C target – that provide assurance to investors, developers, producers and consumers.”
Directing investments and support away from fossil fuels
The fourth proposal includes the need for governments to move away from diverting subsidies to the fossil fuel industry to protect the poor and the most vulnerable groups and societies.
According to Guterres, the coal, oil and gas sector receives subsidies of about $11 million every minute, and governments pump nearly half a trillion dollars annually to reduce fossil fuel prices, more than 3 times what renewables get.
“While people are suffering from high prices at the stations, the oil and gas industry is making billions,” he said.
Finally, the fifth proposal is to triple public and private investment in renewable energy, to reach at least $4 trillion annually.
“For wind and solar energy, the initial payments represent 80% of the operating cost, and this means that the current huge investments will reap significant gains for years to come,” he said.
He pointed out that financing costs in some developing countries are 7 times higher than what developed countries pay, and it is necessary to provide mixed financing to fill the current gaps.
“The managements and shareholders of multilateral development banks and development financial institutions must take responsibility and be accountable,” he explained.
He stressed the need for lending portfolios to be in line with the Paris Agreement by 2024, at the latest, and to end financing of high-emitting and most polluting projects.
He called on these institutions to exploit the budget to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, by financing infrastructure.
Guterres also believes that the transition to renewable energy may be the peace project of the 21st century.
He stressed that “each of us has a role to play in achieving this, but the most important thing is that leaders – in the public and private sectors – stop talking about renewable energy as a project that is out of reach,” and believes that there can be no future without these sources.
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