The UN leader advocates for an ‘expeditious shift’ from the fossil fuels to clean energies

In addressing the online COP26 Roundtable on the Clean Power Transformation, Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said, “All nations need realistic mid-term targets and strategies that are consistent with this goal.” “We need an accelerated shift from fossil fuels to clean energies to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050. The top UN leader called it “both an inequality and an obstacle to sustainable development, drawing a view of some 789 million people who do not have access to energy in the developing world, three-quarters of whom reside in sub-Saharan Africa. As a path to helping African nations, he pointed to “inclusivity as well as sustainability, while stressing that all nations must be able to have access to clean and green energy that avoids “our planet’s hazardous heating.”

Mr. Guterres called for a “strong commitment by all governments” to bring an end to incentives for fossil energy, put a price on emissions, move taxes from citizens to waste, as well as bring an end to the development of coal-fired power stations. And we require to see sufficient international support so that African economies, as well as the economies of other developing nations, can skip polluting growth and shift to a clean, renewable energy path,” he said. Against this entire backdrop, Mr. Guterres echoed his call for developed countries to meet their $100 billion annual commitment to finance prevention and adaptation in developing nations. He stressed “the crucial importance of adjustment” as “a moral imperative” by referring to Africa’s challenges, from severe droughts in the Sahel and Horn of Africa to catastrophic flooding in the south of the continent.

The UN leader said that although only 20% of climate finance is dedicated to it, “equal focus and investment” is required for adaptation. “The upcoming Summit on Climate Adaptation on January 25 is an opportunity to boost momentum in this highly neglected region,” he added. The Secretary-General acknowledged that viable investments are still not given priority,” considering the vast sums of money allocated for COVID-19 pandemic recovery and stimulus initiatives. He highlighted the need for such a 6% annual reduction in the fossil fuel energy usage by renewables, transformation projects, economic diversification strategies, green bonds as well as other sustainable development instruments.

He emphasized the need to restrict the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, noting sometime between now and the year 2030, emissions need to decline by 7.6% per year. He noticed, however, that “some nations still go in a reverse way.” “This trend needs to be reversed,” he added. He said that both public and private investment should help the Paris Agreement as well as the 2030 Plan for Sustainable Development by delivering ‘equal and inclusive’ preparation, expertise, and new opportunities.