UN Secretary-General Calls For End of Fossil Subsidies & Use of Taxpayers’ Money “To Destroy the World”

“We need to tax pollution, not people”, and “end subsidies for fossil fuels,.” – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, this May 28th, 2019 at the World Summit of the R20 Coalition, a UN-supported environmental organization, founded by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with one of the celebrated youth activists and climate crisis fighters in the world today, Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who inspired young people around the globe this March to stage a student strike at their schools in a call to adults for climate action.

News from the United Nations on the Climate Crisis facing the World

Posted May 30th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The idea that subsidizing fossil fuels is a way to improve people’s lives could not be more wrong, said UN chief Antonio Guterres 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.”

This chart from 2016, shows Canada to be one of the largest subsidizers of fossil fuel corporations in percentage of GDP of almost any developed nation on the planet. Despite all its rhetoric about addressing the climate crisis, Canada’s current federal government continues to grant huge breaks to oil and gas industries, and Ontario’s Ford government is now going to court to fight what it calls a “carbon tax” the federal government has at least tried to implement as a way of putting a price on carbon pollution

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.

Youth activist and climate crisis fighter Greta Thunberg with former California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has become a strong advocate for moving the world to green, renewable sources of energy.

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.”

Climate change is an emergency, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced Greta Thunberg, youth climate activist

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 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.”

To listen to and watch Swedish youth activist and climate crisis fighter Greta Thunberg speak at the R20 Austrian World Summit this May 28th, click on the screen below –

To read more news from the UN on climate and other issues click on the following link – 
United Nations News

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders




One response to “UN Secretary-General Calls For End of Fossil Subsidies & Use of Taxpayers’ Money “To Destroy the World”

  1. It is interesting to see that The United Nations is using stronger and more direct language that reflects the “climate crisis”.

    This article covers a lot of useful information.
    The last paragraph is a strong appeal to regional and local climate action.
    We are counting on local and regional attention to the climate crisis and global heating.
    In the article the “UN chief….. 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.”
    Let us all speak to our municipal and regional representatives demanding their attention, knowledge and action addressing the climate crisis and also requiring them to build a strong board of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority that will carry increasing responsibilities.

    Don Alexander


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