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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a stark warning that too many governments and companies "still haven't gotten the message" and risk engineering a carbon-intensive recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking at the International Energy Agency (IEA) Clean Energy Transition Virtual Summit, Mr. Guterres warned that the opportunity to achieve a “green recovery” that accelerates climate action in support of the United Nations-sponsored Paris Agreement The United States risked being squandered by countries using stimulus funds to “shore up” fossil fuel companies and “boost” the development of coal-fired power plants.
Guterres urged countries to stop funding coal and commit not to build new coal-fired power plants to enable a shift towards clean energy.
"Coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery plans," Guterres said, speaking on video at the clean energy transition summit organized by the IEA.
He said the business case for renewable energy was better than coal in almost all markets and that green jobs and sustainable growth are crucial in economic recovery packages amid the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.
"Today, nations are making far-reaching decisions by channeling trillions of dollars of taxpayer money into recovery strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
“As we design and implement these recovery plans, we have a choice. We can go back to where we were, or we can invest in a better and more sustainable future, "he added.
Guterres praised governments that have committed to ecological recovery plans, singling out the European Union and South Korea for praise and highlighting how Nigeria has reformed its fossil fuel subsidy framework and Canada has put climate disclosure conditions on your rescue support in response to the pandemic.
However, "many still have not understood the message," warned the United Nations secretary.
Guterres cited new research into the G20 recovery packages launched this week showing that twice as much recovery money has been spent on fossil fuels as on clean energy.
Reuters reported that China, the world's largest producer of coal, said it was committed to clean and efficient low-carbon development of the energy sector.
"We will make great efforts to develop hydroelectric, wind and solar power," Zhang Jinhua, director of the China National Energy Administration, said at the virtual meeting.
The IEA Clean Energy Transition Summit convened 40 ministers from countries that account for 80 percent of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
They discussed measures to boost economies, reduce emissions and make energy systems more resilient to climate change.
"The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit represents the key moment in 2020 to build momentum towards international energy and climate goals," said Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director.
"Instead of allowing the COVID-19 crisis to undermine our clean energy transitions, we need to leverage massive economic recovery plans to achieve a definitive peak in carbon emissions and put the world on the path to sustainable recovery," he closed. .