March 23 (UPI) — Pointing to long-term trends that could make the planet uninhabitable for humans, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday it was time to end the “war on nature.”
Friday marks World Meteorological Day. Speaking ahead of the day, Guterres said the damage already done to the climate since the industrial age is “making our planet uninhabitable.”
His comments come on the heels of a report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said the continued use of fossil fuels, along with the “unequal and unsustainable” use of energy and land, has led to a general increase in average temperatures.
“This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world,” the IPCC said.
During the so-called energy transition, economies of scale are pursuing non-fossil fuel alternatives to avoid emissions, while at the same time advancing technology that can capture some of those pollutants. From the CEO of BP, to U.S. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, there’s a growing sense that oil and natural gas will be part of the economy while cleaner technologies develop.
In the U.S. economy, the world’s largest, natural gas accounts for 39% of the total mix for electricity generation this year and 37% for 2024. Renewables climb from 24% to 26% next year, though overall emissions of CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, increase by 0.6% from the 2023 forecast.
Guterres said it’s time for “transformation, not tinkering” in the energy landscape. A radical transformation may be necessary to avoid further, and potentially irreversible, climate damage.
“It’s time to end the relentless — and senseless — war on nature and deliver the sustainable future that our climate needs, and our children and grandchildren deserve,” he said.