UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday the world is racing toward a climate change disaster, dismissing the current global response as woefully inadequate.
Climate policies currently adopted will lead to average temperatures 2.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times by the end of the century, nearly twice the UN goal of a 1.5-degree rise, Guterres said.
“That spells catastrophe. Yet the collective response remains pitiful,” Guterres told a press conference.
“We are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open — with far too many willing to bet it all on wishful thinking, unproven technologies and silver bullet solutions. It’s time to wake up and step up,” said the UN chief.
He said the fossil fuel industry must undertake not just a transition but full-blown transformation as it moves toward clean energy “and away from a product incompatible with human survival.”
Guterres added: “Countries are far off-track in meeting climate promises and commitments. I see a lack of ambition. A lack of trust. A lack of support. A lack of cooperation. And an abundance of problems around clarity and credibility.”
Guterres, who is hosting a climate summit in New York in September, said the 1.5-degree goal is “still possible,” if the fight against climate change is accelerated.
“All of this action must be global. It must be immediate. And it must start with the polluted heart of the climate crisis: the fossil fuel industry,” he warned.
“Let’s face facts. The problem is not simply fossil fuel emissions. It’s fossil fuels — period.”
Guterres also called out the oil and gas industry’s $4 trillion net income last year.
“Yet for every dollar it spends on oil and gas drilling and exploration, only 4 cents went to clean energy and carbon capture — combined.”
“Trading the future for thirty pieces of silver is immoral,” he cautioned.