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‘Without renewables, there can be no future’ — UN calls for improved energy transition

‘Without renewables, there can be no future’ — UN calls for improved energy transition
May 19
09:13 2022

Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, says it is time for the world to jump-start the renewable energy transition because without it there will be no future for humanity. 

He spoke in a video message on Wednesday regarding the ‘The State of the Global Climate 2021’ report released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

According to the report, extreme weather took a heavy toll on human lives, triggered shocks for food and water security, and led to economic loss worth hundreds of billions of dollars in 2021.

“It is just a matter of time before we see another warmest year on record. Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come. Sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means to remove carbon from the atmosphere are invented,” the WMO warned.

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Guterres, who described the report as a “dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption” said while time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, renewable energy stands as a “lifeline”.

“The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe,” he said.

“Fossil fuels are a dead-end environmentally and economically. The war in Ukraine and its immediate effect on energy is another wake-up call.

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“The only sustainable future is a renewable one. We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home. Time is running out.

“To keep 1.5 alive and prevent worse impacts of the climate crisis, the world must act in this decade. The good news is that the lifeline is right in front of us, transforming energy systems is a low-hanging fruit.

“Renewable energy technology such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels and investments in renewables create more jobs than fossil fuels.”

Guterres proposed five ways to jump-start the renewable energy transition including: making renewable energy technology available to all; improving global access to components and raw materials, leveling the playing field for renewable energy technologies; shifting energy subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy; and tripping investments in renewables.

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He added that the world needs to act together because energy transformation can be “the peace project of the 21st century” and that “renewables are the only path to real energy security, stable power prices and sustainable employment opportunities”.

“It is time for leaders, public and private alike to stop talking about renewables as a distant project of the future because without renewables there can be no future,” he said.

“As today’s report makes clear, it’s time to jumpstart the renewable energy transition before it is too late.”

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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