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Reminding World of its commitments to Climate Change, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon calls for Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidy

Ban stressed that the world has to come up with strategies to mitigate climate change aggressively by 2018 and make a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy

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A Drought hit zone,, Pixabay

– by Kushagra Dixit

Marrakech, Nov 15, 2016: Reminding the world of its commitments to the climate change, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for ending the fossil fuel subsidy.

“The choices we make today may have a catastrophic effect on climate change for thousands of years. All countries must work on elimination of fossil fuel subsidy,” he said at the opening ceremony of joint high-level segment of the Marrakech climate talks, along with the King of Morocco.

Ban stressed the scaling up of clean energy sources and said the world needs to anticipate and reshape the development of their future plans.

As the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), members of civil society and over 300 organisations demanded a halt to all fossil fuel extraction and making an urgent transition to clean energy.

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India alone spends hundreds of billion of dollars to subsidise fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, coal and kerosene oil.

Much of this subsidy is aimed at over 300 million people in India who don’t have access to electricity.

Ban Ki-moon, attending his last UN Climate Conference as UN Secretary General, said he expects the United Nations will continue to advocate moral interventions, whenever needed.

“I leave you with the hope that you will continue with the responsibility to protect our beautiful earth,” he said.

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The UN chief along with Moroccan King Mohammed VI reminded the developed countries of their financial commitments to developing nations by mobilising $100 billion before 2020.

“Developed countries must provide financial assistance to developing countries, especially in southern Africa and island states, as they are the most vulnerable,” the Moroccan King said.

Ban stressed that the world has to come up with strategies to mitigate climate change aggressively by 2018 and make a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

“The Paris Agreement is a new dawn for global climate action. Countries have strongly supported the agreement in their own national interest by pursuing the common goals. It has to be translated into complete goal to protect and safeguard humanity,” said Ban.

The UN chief has been part of 10 COPs, the COP22 at Marrakech being his last before he demits office.

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He lauded the contribution and collaboration from companies, government and non-governmental organisations for their global commitments and actions.

Speaking of lessons he learned from his experiences, Ban asked the world to rely on science and work on mechanism to reduce emission to meet the set targets by 2020.

“The UN must continue to champion the science. Nationally Determined Contributions alone will not get us out of danger zone but science also,” he said.

“We have no right to gamble for the future generation. We have to fund and expand clean energy sources and reshape our environment in a more resilient manner. We have to advance progress and invest in resilient approaches,” Ban said. (IANS)

(Kushagra Dixit is in Marrakech at the invitation of TERI to cover COP-22. He can be contacted at kushagra.d@ians.in )

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Trump Administration Commits to Make Fossil Fuels Cleaner, Says Energy Secretary

Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming

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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, center, speaks as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon look on at an energy summit, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

The Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on coal and oil, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday at an energy conference in Salt Lake City.

Perry previously said the administration wants to spend $500 million next year on fossil fuel research and development as demand plummets for coal and surges for natural gas.

“Instead of punishing fuels that produce emissions through regulation, we’re seeking to reduce those emissions by innovation,” Perry said at the conference. Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said the world must change how it fuels factories, vehicles and homes to limit future global warming.

Perry said the Trump administration has proven it can make energy cleaner, but he provided no details involving coal and other fossil fuels, other than the closing of old, inefficient coal-burning power plants and exporting increasing volumes of natural gas, an alternative to coal.

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Protesters gather outside the Utah Governor’s Energy Summit at Grand America Hotel, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

Department of Energy spokesman Dirk Vande Beek didn’t immediately return an email and voicemail seeking more details about Perry’s claim.

Perry pointed to an overall drop in emissions as proof of progress.

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13 percent from 2005 to 2017, according to the most recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lindsay Beebe of the Sierra Club in Utah said trying to make fossil fuels cleaner is misspent energy.

“I don’t know that it’s possible right now, but what is ready right now are renewables. Wind, solar and geothermal are commercially viable and at scale,” Beebe said.

The summit Thursday was briefly interrupted when 15 protesters took the stage to criticize the administration’s fixation on fossil fuels.

They said the misguided approach ignores climate change. Police then escorted them out.

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About 25 protesters are escorted by police after interrupting a energy summit where U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Perry says the Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on oil, gas and coal. VOA

After they left, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who sponsored the event, said he and other leaders appreciated the “youthful enthusiasm” but their call to immediately discard fossil fuels and shift entirely to renewable energy isn’t realistic.

“They would like us to quit by Friday and not take anything out of the ground,” Herbert said. “That obviously doesn’t work from a practical standpoint.”

ALSO READ: Chinese Scientists Discover CO2 More Efficient to Use in Fracking than Water

Americans burned a record amount of energy in 2018, with a 10% jump in consumption from booming natural gas helping lead the way, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

Fossil fuels in all accounted for 80% of Americans’ energy use. (VOA)