The UN chief on Thursday urged Japan and other rich nations to renounce their dependence on coal and other fossil fuels and pledged to invest in green energy once the coronavirus recovers from the epidemic.
U.S. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the request while addressing an online climate conference hosted by Japan.
Guterres noted that many countries are using the highway opportunity to double green energy and other initiatives, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average.
“We are facing two critical crises, cowboy and climate change,” he said in a pre-recorded comment. He said he hoped the meeting would “leave future generations with the hope that this moment is the real turning point for man and the planet.”
A major U.S. climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, was postponed this November due to the epidemic. COP26 has been dubbed, it will be held there in early 2021.
Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has led an initiative called Online Platform for Sustainable and Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19, or “Platform for Redirection 2020”, a website that says it is a hub that supports countries’ climate and other environmental policies and activities since COVID-19. Are planned and implemented in the context of recovery.
Guterres noted that in many areas of Japan’s advanced technology, it should be at the forefront of moving towards renewable energy and called for an end to funding for coal-fired power plants.
The top priorities, he said, are prioritizing “green” work, ending subsidies for the use of fossil fuels, and taking into account energy and climate change issues in all decisions.
“Clean energy provides more work, cleaner air, improved health and stronger economic growth,” Guterres said.
He added, “Burning money in coal plants makes no sense economically which will soon turn into a trapped asset”. “There is no logical case for coal power in any investment plan.”
After a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear recession in March 2011, Japan relinquished its ambition to convert to renewable energy by shutting down its nuclear power plants for safety measures.
Some have relaunched but most have not. Meanwhile, the country has increased its use of coal, oil and gas, strengthened its use of solar power and reduced its power generation capacity by reducing waste.
The government has also tried to export its skills and technology by financing the construction of coal-fired power plants.
Guterres said the ultimate goal of ending global emissions by 2030 and achieving “carbon neutrality” by 2000 – limiting global warming – was “achievable, but we’re off track.”
He called on the countries participating in the conference to come up with more ambitious plans and long-term strategies before next year’s COP26.
In a comment on the Platform for Redesign 2020 website, Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said the effort was aimed at helping countries “redesign their economic and social systems in this time of dual crisis.”
He noted that the epidemic had reduced most activities, but that “climate change does not give us time to waste.”
“Our job is not to return to the pre-epidemic world, but to improve further,” he said.
Ellen Kurtenbach, Associated Press