‘That is insanity’: UN warns towards turning to fossil fuels due to warfare in Ukraine

The top of the UN Antonio Guterres has warned it’s “insanity” to extend any use of fossil fuels as a response to the warfare in Ukraine as international locations attempt to reduce ties with Russia.

Worldwide efforts to ditch Russian coal, oil and gas should not see international locations flip to any accessible various to shore up their vitality safety, Mr Guterres mentioned, likening the technique to the “mutually assured destruction” of nuclear warfare between superpowers.

European international locations have quickly sought to finish their dependence on Russian fossil fuels for the reason that invasion of Ukraine, with the EU planning to slash its use of Russian gasoline from accounting for 45 per cent of all gasoline provision to zero by 2027. Russia additionally provides round 1 / 4 of the EU’s crude oil.

However as international locations rush to dealer new offers with different hydrocarbon-rich states, reminiscent of Qatar, which has simply signed a long-term gasoline take care of Germany, the UN has warned that specializing in changing Russian fossil fuels with different sources of the identical climate-altering merchandise will finish the prospect of conserving common international temperatures beneath harmful ranges.

Regardless of the UK having a really low dependency on Russian gasoline and oil – round 3 and eight per cent of all UK provides respectively – Boris Johnson’s authorities has mentioned it’s exploring new drilling prospects for oil and gasoline within the North Sea, which might take many years to return on line, and has supplied to increase deadlines to seal fracking wells.

The US White Home spokesperson Jen Psaki additionally mentioned earlier this month that the warfare in Ukraine was a cause for American oil and gasoline companies to “get extra provide out of the bottom in our personal nation”.

Mr Guterres mentioned: “International locations might turn out to be so consumed by the fast fossil gasoline provide hole that they neglect or knee-cap insurance policies to chop fossil gasoline use,” he mentioned by video at a sustainability summit organised by The Economist.

“That is insanity. Habit to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.”

He added: “As an alternative of hitting the brakes on the decarbonisation of the worldwide financial system, now could be the time to place the pedal to the metallic in the direction of a renewable vitality future”.

His warning comes as scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change start a two-week assembly to finalise their newest report concerning the world’s efforts to curb emissions of planet-heating greenhouse gases.

Mr Guterres mentioned the Paris local weather settlement aim of limiting common international temperature rises to 1.5C above the pre-industrial period was now “on life assist” as a result of international locations aren’t doing sufficient to drive down emissions.

To fulfill the aim now requires a forty five per cent reduce in international emissions by 2030, he mentioned.

“If we proceed with extra of the identical, we are able to kiss 1.5 goodbye,” he mentioned.

Extra reporting by PA.



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