Climate advocates applaud UN secretary general’s call to phase out fossil fuel

June 21, 2023

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ remarks urging nations to swiftly phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy have received strong support from activists and organizations.

Guterres on June 15 said countries have deviated from meeting their climate commitments. He underscored the significant role played by the fossil fuel industry in driving climate breakdown.

“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. Let’s face facts. The problem is not simply fossil fuel emissions. It’s fossil fuels – period,” said Guterres.

Guterres said the world must get rid of fossil fuels “in a just and equitable way – moving to leave oil, coal, and gas in the ground where they belong – and massively boosting renewable investment in a just transition.”

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), praised Guterres’ stance on unproven carbon capture technologies, welcoming his call for a complete transition away from fossil fuels.

She said Guterres’ remark “echoes what people and communities on the frontline of the climate crisis have been warning of, and demanding for decades.”

Nacpil emphasized the importance of a just and equitable shift, one that establishes an economic system based on renewable energy, meets the needs of communities, respects ecosystems, and upholds the rights of all people.

She said vulnerable communities are now “fighting back against the fossil fuel industry” and demanding accountability for the harm that the major carbon polluters have caused them.

“Leaders of the biggest polluting countries have the obligation to deliver a fast and fair fossil fuel phase-out and fund it globally,” said Nacpil. 

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