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Fossil fuels are a dead end and the only sustainable future for the planet is accelerating the energy transition, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, launching the State of the Global Climate 2021 report, which showed that four key climate change indicators set new records last year.
The UN presented a five-point plan to jump-start the renewable energy revolution, which, Guterres says, has received a wake-up call following the Russian war in Ukraine and the immediate effects on energy prices.
According to the World Meteorological Organization's State of the Global Climate 2021 report, four key indicators of climate change – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021.
"The key to tackling this crisis is to end our reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels - the main cause of climate change," the UN said.
Guterres outlined five critical actions that the UN believes the world needs to prioritize now in order to accelerate the shift to renewable energy. These include 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 tripling investments in renewables as the world needs investments of at least $4 trillion a year until 2030 if it has any chance of reaching net zero by 2050.
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"Fossil fuels are a dead end — environmentally and economically. The war in Ukraine and its immediate effects on energy prices is yet another wake-up call. 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," Guterres said.
"But most of all, it's 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 added.
Just last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that renewable power capacity additions could lose momentum next year unless new and stronger policies are adopted soon. Growth in renewables would have been faster without the current supply chain and logistical challenges, the IEA said. Increased commodity and freight prices will keep costs for renewable technology higher compared to pre-pandemic levels this year and next, reversing a decade of cost declines.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.