Ukraine conflict threatens international heating objectives, warns UN chief | Local weather disaster

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The conflict in Ukraine dangers placing international targets on the local weather out of attain, the UN secretary basic has warned, if nations reply to Russia’s aggression by increasing their use of fossil fuels.

António Guterres stated the intention of limiting international temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial ranges, the objective set out on the Cop26 UN climate summit final 12 months, was in peril as nations sought options to Russian oil and gasoline provides.

“The fallout from Russia’s conflict in Ukraine dangers upending international meals and energy markets, with main implications for the worldwide local weather agenda. As main economies pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ technique to exchange Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures may create long-term fossil gas dependence and shut the window to 1.5C,” he warned, in a video deal with to a convention on sustainability run by the Economist newspaper in London on Monday.

“International locations might turn into so consumed by the rapid fossil gas provide hole that they neglect or knee-cap insurance policies to chop fossil gas use,” he went on. “That is insanity. Habit to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.”

Europe depends on Russia for 40% of its gasoline, with Germany’s reliance even increased at 60%. The EU is embarking on a plan to cut its use of Russian gas by two-thirds this 12 months, and eradicate it in future years.

As a part of that plan, in addition to expanding renewable energy generation, EU member states are looking for fossil fuels from different nations, akin to gasoline from Qatar and oil from Saudi Arabia. Some may take into account a rise in coal-fired energy technology.

Within the UK the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is considering a cut in fuel duty, to offset a few of the value will increase which have taken petrol close to report highs. Critics warned such a reduce would have little affect on poorer households.

Guterres stated turning to fossil fuels would solely retailer up additional issues. “As present occasions make all too clear, our persevering with reliance on fossil fuels places the worldwide financial system and vitality safety on the mercy of geopolitical shocks and crises,” he stated. “As an alternative of hitting the brakes on the decarbonisation of the worldwide financial system, now’s the time to place the pedal to the metallic in the direction of a renewable vitality future.”

The UN secretary basic acknowledged widespread concern amongst local weather consultants that the progress on display at the Cop26 summit was in peril of dissipating below the strain of hovering vitality costs and greenhouse gasoline emissions.

The Worldwide Power Company discovered that annual carbon dioxide emissions from energy jumped by 6% last year to their highest ranges in historical past, as economies rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic. The “green recovery” that many governments promised from the disaster has not materialised.

Guterres warned: “If we proceed with extra of the identical, we are able to kiss 1.5C goodbye. Even 2C could also be out of attain. That may be disaster.”

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