End fossil fuel subsidies, and stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

UN Vienna/Nikoleta Haffar Climate activist, Greta Thunberg (l), former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres (r) meet at the R20 Austria World Summit in Vienna. (28 May 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


“We need to tax pollution, not people”, and “end subsidies for fossil fuels,” Secretary-General António Guterres told the World Summit of the R20 Coalition on Tuesday, a UN-supported environmental organization, founded by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The idea that subsidizing fossil fuels is a way to improve people’s lives could not be more wrong, said the UN chief in the Austrian capital, Vienna, because it means spending taxpayers’ money to “boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals: to destroy the world.”

Mr. Guterres went on to call for the decarbonization of urban infrastructure, a halt to coal plants, and the promotion of sustainable consumption and production: “in short, we need a green economy, not a grey economy.”

Financing a ‘post-carbon’ society

In the lead up to the UN Climate Summit this September, the Secretary-General has enlisted the President of France, the Prime Minister of Jamaica and the Emir of Qatar to mobilize international support to secure the $100 billion goal agreed by UN Member States at the Paris climate conference in 2015, necessary for advancing climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world.

Investors need to stop “financing pollution”, scale up green ventures and increase lending for low-carbon solutions”, he insisted, adding that the private sector and investment communities must support a “bold and ambitions climate agenda”, because climate action is not only good for people and the planet, it can also be good for business.

‘Silver lining to the looming cloud’

Recounting his recent trip to Tuvalu, a low-lying island state in the South Pacific that risks being inundated by rising sea levels, Mr. Guterres highlighted the fact that “rarely a day goes by,” without news of yet another disaster, such as floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme storms.

However, there is a “silver lining to the looming cloud”, because, although the current situation is extremely serious, the shift to a green economy would see profound benefits for societies around the world, with cleaner water and air, less pollution, more chemical-free agriculture and reduced biodiversity loss.

Regional action is ‘key to addressing the climate crisis’

The R20 Austrian World Summit is a long-term initiative to help regions, states and cities to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and meet the global climate protection targets outlined in the Paris Agreement to limit climate change. R20 aims to develop the summit to become the most important European meeting place for climate action solutions.

One of the other high-profile speakers at the opening session of the event was outspoken Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who initiated the school strike for climate movement in November 2018, at the age of 15.

Ms. Thunberg said that millions of children have been gaining lots of attention for the climate emergency, but they, like scientists, are not leaders, unlike many of the politicians, CEOs and celebrities attending the Summit: “people listen to you, and are influenced by you. You have an enormous responsibility, a responsibility that most of you have failed to take.”

Such influencers, she added, cannot rely on people to read between the lines or search for scientific information. They must explain repeatedly, no matter how uncomfortable or unprofitable that may be. Ms. Thunberg reminded the audience that, although climate change may be a chance for green growth, it is primarily “an emergency, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced.”

The work of Governor Schwarzenegger and the R20 coalition, in highlighting the importance of climate action at a “sub-national” city and regional level, was praised by the UN chief, who described sub-national action as being “key to addressing the climate crisis”, not only because regional and city governments are closer to the people, but because “regions and cities are the main engines of the world economy.”         

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

144 years on, Universal Postal Union meets to define its 21st Century role

Tusk fights back while charismatic Boris goes against everybody in Brussels pushing the UK to leave the EU now or never

5 things you need to know about your microbiome

Japan’s holiest shrine is pulled down and rebuilt every 20 years – on purpose

Peace will be ‘paramount’ issue for incoming Afghan Government: UN mission chief

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Making technology work for 1.3 billion Indians

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

UN chief reaffirms commitment to untying ‘Gordian knot’ of Middle East conflict and instability

Young New Yorkers bring robots, and a glimpse of the future, to UN Headquarters

Financial support for workers affected by no-deal Brexit

Aung San Suu Kyi appears at ICJ as UN rights expert urges greater protection for Myanmar activists

Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

To be fair or to be sustainable? That is the (retirement) question

Here are three technology trends changing the way you travel

FIFA and UN kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

A Sting Exclusive: “Our Great Awakening, Rebuilding in a Culture of Collective Trauma”, by Dr Hokemeyer

The third bailout agreement for Greece is a done deal amid European economies full of problems

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

Here’s how sustainability can make you stand out from the crowd

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Why the world needs systems leadership, not selfish leadership

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

UN ‘financial crisis,’ years in the making, Guterres tells budget body, proposes solutions

Fair Taxation: EU updates list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

Chicken soup for the digital soul: how to bring community back online

Turkey to let EU alone struggle with the migrant crisis while enhancing its economic ties with Russia instead?

This is what is still holding social entrepreneurs back

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

European Union signs aviation agreement with the Republic of Korea

UN agency plan tackles ‘hidden cost’ of gold, paves way for safer, mercury-free mining

‘Hateful attacks’ pushing Sri Lanka backwards, UN advisers warn, urging an end to ‘discriminatory practices’ that feed intolerance

EU Civil Protection Mechanism must be sufficiently funded to save lives

Still recovering from devastating cyclones, Mozambique, in UN address, warns of global warming’s ‘nefarious consequences’

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

COVID-19: It’s time to rethink where, how and why we work

Coronavirus: 5 ways to work from home with your kids (and stay sane)

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

Here’s why we need a global agreement on cross-border science to beat COVID-19

‘Complacency’ a factor in stagnating global vaccination rates, warn UN health chiefs

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

Wolfgang Schäuble: “Without European unification, there would be no German unity”

Feeling the heat? This is how to keep cool as temperatures rise

Repression, use of force risk worsening Bolivia crisis: UN human rights chief

Here’s how sustainable aviation fuel can take off in Europe

Has Germany rebuffed ECB on the banking union?

To build a circular economy, we need to put recycling in the bin

More than half of the global population is now online

Misinformation and growing distrust on vaccines, ‘dangerous as a disease’ says UNICEF chief

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s