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Phasing out fossil fuel inevitable, says UN



The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said phasing out fossil fuel was not only necessary but also inevitable.

Speaking in celebration of the first International Day of Clean Energy on Friday, he called on governments to act and accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to clean, with the biggest emitters leading the way.

According to Guterres, clean energy is the gift that keeps giving, which can purify polluted air, meet growing energy demand and secure supplies.

The UN chief argued that fossil fuel could connect billions of people to affordable power, “helping to ensure electricity access to all by 2030,” while saving money and the planet.

“A fair, just, equitable, and urgent transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy is essential to avoid the worst of climate chaos and spur sustainable development.

“So, I celebrate this first International Day of Clean Energy; I applaud the work of the International Renewable Energy Agency. And I welcome the call made by countries at COP28 to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

“It is my firm belief that fossil fuel phase out is not only necessary, it is inevitable. But we need governments to act, to accelerate the transition, with the biggest emitters leading the way,” he disclosed.

Guterres said this means “unleashing a surge in climate finance, particularly, governments reforming the business model of multilateral development banks so that affordable finance flows”.

He added, “It means countries creating new national climate plans by 2025 that map a fair and just transition to clean power. And it means governments closing the door on the fossil fuel era – with justice and equity.

 “Our clean energy future is unstoppable. Together, let’s bring it into being faster.”

The PUNCH reported that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had continued to differ with organisations calling for an end to fossil fuel.

OPEC is seeking more investment in oil despite global push for renewable energy sources.

OPEC said oil remained indispensable in the renewable energy transition, projecting in its recent 2023 World Oil Outlook that the global oil demand would hit 116 million barrels a day by the year 2045.

The Secretary-General of OPEC, Haitham Al Ghais, disagreed with calls to stop investments in new oil projects, saying such calls were misguided and could lead to energy and economic chaos.

Al Ghais also differed with the International Energy Agency over the need to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy sources.

While the IEA continued to push for the replacement of fossil fuel for renewables like solar, wind, and water, OPEC which is a body of nations producing fossil fuel said the replacement could not be done overnight.

Meanwhile, the international community is sliding towards the new energy world order, which refers to the changing landscape of the energy sector as renewable energy sources like solar, wind and water gain prominence.

The UN General Assembly had declared January 26 of every year as the International Day of Clean Energy, as a call to raise awareness and mobilise action for a just and inclusive transition to clean energy for the benefit of people and the planet.

The UN said coal, oil, and gas were responsible for nearly 90 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.



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