End fossil fuel subsidy, says UN chief
Marrakech, Nov 15 (IANS) 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.
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.
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.
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.
(Kushagra Dixit is in Marrakech at the invitation of TERI to cover COP-22. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )