United Nations UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for efforts to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, saying the renewable energy is the “lifeline” to ending climate change.
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s most recent flagship report, published Wednesday, greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rises, ocean heat, and acidification all set new records in 2021. However, some glaciers reached the point where there is no return.
The State of the Climate 2021 indicates that extreme weather – the day-to-day face of climate change – wreaked a heavy toll of human lives, triggered shocks for food and water security, and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses last year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The report, which identifies yet more signs that human activity is causing damage on a global scale, also confirms the fact that the last seven years have been the hottest on record. In 2021, the global temperature will be about 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels.
Noting the report is a “dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption,” the UN chief said that while time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there is a “lifeline” right in front.
“We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home… Transforming energy systems is low-hanging fruit,” he emphasised in a video message.
Highlighting that renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases, cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, the top UN official proposed critical actions to jump-start the energy transition, which he called the “peace project of the 21st century.”
Guterres called on the government to treat renewable energy technologies as essential public goods and for securing, scaling-up and diversifying the supply of components and raw materials.
He also called for reforms and frameworks to be created in order to reduce bureaucracies relating to fossil fuels.
The UN chief urges governments to expedite and streamline approvals for solar and wind project approvals, modernize grids, set ambitious renewable energy targets, and provide certainty to investors and developers.
The secretary-general called on the government to shift subsidies away from fossil fuels.
“While people suffer from high prices at the pump, the oil and gas industry is raking in billions from a distorted market. This scandal must stop,” Guterres pointed out.
“It’s time to jump-start the renewable energy transition before it’s too late,” the secretary-general said.