UN chief warns Russia's war in Ukraine could set back climate goals
In a major speech Monday morning, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine could set back the climate agenda and spark a global food crisis.
Driving the news: Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat, and food prices are rising around the world as supplies are cut off.
- On the energy front, Europe is speeding up its transition to clean energy in order to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas.
- But, in the U.S., many policymakers are showing a renewed enthusiasm for oil and gas development, including exporting more liquified natural gas to Europe.
What they're saying: "As major economies pursue an 'all-of-the-above' strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5 degrees," Guterres said.
- "Countries could become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap policies to cut fossil fuel use."
- "This is madness,” he said.
By the numbers: The planet has already warmed by about 1.1°C above preindustrial levels, and the latest research shows the 1.5°C threshold could be breached between 2030-2035, based on emissions trends.
The bottom line: The science is clear and so is the math, Guterres said. "We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe."