New fossil fuel funding ‘delusional’, risking war and climate catastrophe, warns UN secretary general

Nations funding new fossil fuel projects are “delusional”, putting the world on track to miss vital climate targets, and feeding “the scourge of war”, the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has warned.

In an address to the Austria World Summit on Tuesday morning, Mr Guterres said the world now “faces climate chaos”, and called for all G20 governments to dismantle coal infrastructure and halt funding for any new fossil fuel exploration or infrastructure.

“To keep the 1.5-degree goal within reach, we must reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by mid-century,” he said.

“But current national commitments will lead to an increase by almost 14 per cent this decade.”

He accused governments in developed countries of “dragging their feet” on slashing emissions despite huge public concern as well as amid worsening warnings from scientists.

This he said current policy failures were “leading to a disconnect” between people and governments as the climate crisis worsens.

“New funding for fossil fuel exploration and production infrastructure is delusional,” he said.

“It will only further feed the scourge of war, pollution and climate catastrophe.”

The Austrian World Summit is an annual conference which has run every year since 2017, which aims to help take action to help countries hit their climate goals under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

This year’s summit takes place exactly 30 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro – widely credited with laying the foundations for international climate cooperation.

Setting out a vision for modern energy policy to steer the world away from the fossil fuels which powered us through the 19th and 20th centuries, Mr Guterres urged faster adoption of renewable energy sources, which he said were cheaper, more reliable and fairer than fossil fuels, “in all regions”.

He said: “Renewables are the peace plan of the 21st century.

“The cost of solar energy and batteries has plummeted 85 per cent over the past decade. The cost of wind power fell by 55 per cent.

“On the other hand, oil and gas have reached record price levels. And investment in renewables creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels.”

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