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U.N. Secretary-General: End fossil fuel investment and put a price on carbon



António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, gives it to you straight. In his speech at the global climate conference underway in Bonn, Guterres called for more ambition in five specific action areas: Emissions, adaptation, finance, partnerships and leadership. Here’s Guterres’ call to finance action:

  • Mobilize the $100 billion dollars — per year — that developed countries pledge to developing countries to finance their adaptation and low-carbon transitions.
  • End $825 billion in annual investments in fossil fossil fuels and high-emissions sectors. “We must stop making bets on an unsustainable future that will place savings and societies at risk.”
  • Adopt the simple rule: If big infrastructure projects aren’t green, they don’t get the green light. “Otherwise we will be locked into bad choices for decades to come.”
  • Put a price on carbon. Last year, carbon pricing initiatives generated $22 billion dollars. Markets are emerging in North America, Europe and China, but don’t yet cover half the world economy. We need, Guterres said “a higher price on carbon to drive large-scale climate action.”

“Climate change is the defining threat of our time,” Guterres said. Two developments to watch: French President Emmanual Macron’s “One Planet summit” in Paris next month, and Denmark’s proposed clean energy investment coalition. Denmark will host the “clean energy ministerial” next May.

America pledges itself (almost) all-in on climate action

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