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UN chief calls for urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy

11 Jan 2021

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

"All countries need credible mid-term goals and plans that are aligned with this objective," the UN chief said, addressing the virtual COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) Roundtable on Clean Power Transition. "To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, we need an urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy."

Noting that all nations need to be able to provide access to electricity for all, Guterres said that the energy needs to be "clean and renewable," so it does not contribute to the dangerous heating of the human planet.

"That means strong commitment from all governments," he noted.

"We need to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon and shift taxation from people to pollution," said the secretary-general.

"We need a commitment to build no more coal-fired power plants anywhere," the top UN official added.

"And we need to see adequate international support so African economies and other developing countries' economies can leapfrog polluting development and transition to a clean, sustainable energy pathway," Guterres stressed.

"That is why, today, I repeat my appeal to developed nations to fulfill their longstanding pledge to provide 100 billion U.S. dollars a year for developing countries to support both mitigation and adaptation," the UN chief said.

The World Bank, the African Development Bank and national development banks must develop financial instruments that can reduce investment risks and attract private capital to African countries, the secretary-general underscored.

Guterres said that "with climate disruption already upon us, we must not neglect the vital importance of adaptation."

"Africa's vulnerability is plain to see, from prolonged droughts in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa to devastating floods in southern Africa as it is the case in many other parts of the world," he said.

"Adaptation is a moral imperative," he added.

"To limit global temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius, emissions need to fall by 7.6 percent every year between now and 2030," he said. "This translates to an annual 6 percent decrease in energy production from fossil fuels."

Noting that "we have the opportunity to transform our world," the secretary-general said that "to achieve this we need global solidarity, just as we need it for a successful recovery from COVID-19."

"Africa must be at the center of this engagement," he added.

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