The pain of soaring gas prices must be endured because any wider embrace of fossil fuels as an alternative is “madness” and threatens global climate targets, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned Monday.
If countries “become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap policies to cut fossil fuel use” a climate disaster is the guaranteed outcome, Guterres said in a pre-recorded address to the Economist Sustainability Summit.
The invasion of Ukraine has seen rapid rises in the prices of coal, oil and gas as countries scramble to replace Russian sources but Guterres fears these short-term measures might “close the window” on the Paris climate goals.
The BBC reports the veteran Portuguese Socialist also called on countries to fully phase out “stupid” coal by 2040 and endure the financial costs without complaint.
In his first major speech on climate and energy since COP26, Guterres lamented the limited progress achieved in Glasgow is insufficient to ward off “dangerous climate change.”
Guterres said carbon output needs to be cut in half by the end of this decade even as evidence shows emissions are set to rise by 14 percent.
“The problem was not solved in Glasgow,” Guterres pleaded in the speech. “In fact, the problem is getting worse.”