UN chief Antonio Guterres said the world's "broken" energy system is "bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe", as he rolled out his five-point plan to tackle climate change.
The United Nations chief has launched a five-point plan to jump-start broader use of renewable energies, hoping to revive world attention on climate change.
The move on Wednesday came as the UN’s weather agency World Meteorological Organization reported that greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification hit new records last year.
“We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Time is running out.”
The WMO State of the Climate Report for 2021 said the last seven years were the hottest on record, with extreme weather leading to deaths and disease, migration, and economic losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Today’s State of the Climate report is a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption,” Guterres said.
“The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe.”
Shift away from subsidies
In his plan, which leans into the next UN climate conference taking place in Egypt in November, Guterres called for fostering technology transfer and lifting of intellectual property protections in renewable technologies, like battery storage.
Secondly, Guterres wants to broaden access to supply chains and raw materials that go into renewable technologies, which are now concentrated in a few powerful countries.
The UN chief also wants governments to reform in ways that can promote renewable energies, such as by fast-tracking solar and wind projects.
Fourth, Guterres called for a shift away from government subsidies for fossil fuels that now total a half-trillion dollars per year.
“While people suffer from high prices at the pump, the oil and gas industry is raking in billions from a distorted market,” Guterres said. “This scandal must stop.”
Finally, Guterres says private and public investments in renewable energy must triple to at least $4 trillion dollars a year. He noted that government subsidies for fossil fuels are more than three fold of those for renewables.
Those UN initiatives are built upon a central idea: That human-generated emissions of greenhouse gas in the industrial era have locked in excess heat in the atmosphere, on the Earth’s surface, and in the oceans and seas.
The knock-on effect has contributed to more frequent and severe natural disasters like drought, hurricanes, flooding and forest fires.
#Climatechange affects everyone and everything on the planet— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) May 18, 2022
Greenhouse gas levels, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise at record levels in 2021
We can still limit the the damage#ClimateActionNow for the sake of future generations#StateofClimatehttps://t.co/IRebfExc6e pic.twitter.com/RHGmKJhNXM