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UN chief says ending fossil fuel use is only way to save burning planet

UN chief says ending fossil fuel use is only way to save burning planet

World

"The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels"

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DUBAI (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders on Friday that the burning of fossil fuels must be stopped outright and a reduction or abatement in their use would not be enough to stop global warming.

"We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuels," Guterres said in a speech to the COP28 summit in Dubai.

"The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate."

He urged fossil fuel companies to invest in a transition to renewable energy sources and told governments to help by forcing that change – including through the use of windfall taxes on industry profits.

"I urge governments to help industry make the right choice – by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits," he said.

KING CHARLES URGES RAPID ENVIRONMENTAL REPAIR

Britain's King Charles said on Friday the world was "dreadfully far off track" on addressing climate change and that the global economy would be in peril unless the environment was rapidly repaired.

In an opening address to the COP28 UN climate summit, King Charles told world leaders the dangers of climate change were no longer a distant risk, and urged them to take more action.

"I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action," he said, in reference to the 2015 summit held in France.

"We are seeing alarming tipping points being reached."

After a year of record temperatures, the pressure is on for this year's summit to accelerate action to limit climate change. Countries, however, are divided over the future of fossil fuel, the burning of which is the main cause of climate change.

The summit, which runs until Dec. 12, clinched an early victory on Thursday, with delegates adopting a new fund to help poor nations cope with costly climate disasters.

The king, whose role is ceremonial but is attending the summit on behalf of the British government and after an invite from host nation the United Arab Emirates, did not single out any group in his speech, his first major climate address as Britain's monarch.

He instead spoke about how to involve multilateral organisations and the private sector, the role of the insurance sector and speeding up innovation in renewable energy.

Charles cited the impact of climate change globally, including floods in India and Pakistan and severe wildfires in the United States, Canada and Greece.

"Unless we rapidly repair and restore nature's unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperilled," he said.

For daily comprehensive coverage on COP28 in your inbox, sign up for the Reuters Sustainable Switch newsletter here.




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