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Climate report must spell the end of fossil fuels, says UN chief


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Paris (AFP)

An explosive climate science report “must spell the end” for coal, oil and gas, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, warning that fossil fuels were destroying the planet.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 ° C temperature target would likely be exceeded by 2030 – a decade earlier than it had been. – even planned barely three years ago.

Guterres called the IPCC assessment – the most detailed examination of climate science ever – a “code red for humanity.”

“This report must spell the end of coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” he said in a statement.

“Countries should also halt all further exploration and production of fossil fuels and shift subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables.”

In its first major scientific assessment since 2014, the IPCC said the average Earth’s surface temperature is expected to reach 1.5 or 1.6 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels around 2030, regardless of the trajectory of emissions. greenhouse gases meanwhile.

By the middle of the century, the 1.5 ° C threshold will have been crossed in all areas, by a tenth of a degree along the most ambitious path and by almost a full degree at the opposite extreme.

– ‘The alarm bells are deafening’ –

In his most frontal assault to date against the fossil fuel industry that powers the global economy, Guterres said “immediate action” was needed to decarbonize the energy sector.

“The alarm bells are deafening and the evidence is compelling: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people in immediate danger,” said Guterres .

The Portuguese diplomat said that maintaining the temperature target of 1.5 ° C meant that no new coal-fired power plants could be built and that all energy derived from burning coal had to come from renewable sources. ‘by 2040.

The atmospheric levels of CO2 that warm the planet are currently at their highest levels in at least two million years, with levels of methane and nitrous oxide at their highest for 800,000 years.

Despite a record drop in carbon pollution last year due to pandemic restrictions, the IPCC has found “no detectable decrease” in the rate of greenhouse gas build-up.

Guterres called on world leaders to ensure that the COP26 climate summit in November results in accelerated emissions reductions and funding for countries already facing the fallout from global warming.

“If we combine our forces now, we can prevent a climate catastrophe,” he said.

“But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delays and no room for apologies.”