UN secretary-general calls for world to end “deadly addiction” to coal, ignoring the role it plays in constructing renewable energy plants
03/06/2021 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the world to end its "deadly addiction" to fossil fuels such as coal. But Guterres either does not know or has failed to take into account the fact that metallurgical coal is an essential component in the processes of refining silicon and iron ore for the construction of solar panels and wind turbines.

Guterres said phasing out the use of coal in the energy sector is the single most important step humanity can take to deal with the supposed climate crisis. The secretary-general put out this call in the opening of a virtual summit of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a group of governments and businesses that are committed to phasing out the use of coal. (Related: No justification for linking climate change to global conflict, Russia tells UN Security Council.)

"Today, I am calling on all governments, private companies and local authorities to take three steps. First, cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Second, end the international financing of coal plants and shift investment to renewable energy projects. Third, jumpstart a global effort to finally organize a just transition [for workers in the coal industry], going coal plant by coal plant if necessary," Guterres said.

The wind industry is looking for ways to refine iron ore without needing tons of coal, such as substituting hydrogen in place of carbon, but many of these potential replacements are still experimental.

Similarly, any attempt to replace the use of coal in the solar industry would have to contend with the fact that one of the world's main sources of the solar-grade polysilicon used to construct solar panels comes from China. Specifically, it comes from the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, where coal is incredibly cheap and the solar corporations are being accused of using forced labor.


Before becoming the secretary-general of the United Nations, Guterres, a lifelong member of Portugal's Socialist Party, served as the country's prime minister for nearly six years and was the president of the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of democratic socialist political parties. He also served as the UN high commissioner for refugees for 10 years.

Guterres wants all wealthy nations to phase out the use of coal by 2030

During the same meeting with the Powering Past Coal Alliance, Guterres said he is hoping that the wealthy nations of the world – specifically the nations who are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – could stop using coal by 2030 to meet the world's goal to curb global warming.

Guterres said during his video message that the current emission-cutting pledges by governments fell far short of what the world needs to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If the world takes immediate action to phase out what Guterres called the "dirtiest, most polluting and increasingly costly" fossil fuel, "then we have a fighting chance to succeed."

Guterres said the 37 nations of the OECD should stop using coal by 2030 while the rest of the developing world should follow suit by 2040.

"Science tells us this is essential to meet the Paris Agreement goals and protect future generations," he said.

Guterres further noted that building new renewable energy plants such as solar farms and wind turbines has become cheaper than installing new coal-fired power plants in virtually every market in the world.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance was formed in 2017 with the supposed goal of bringing together governments and businesses to accelerate the phasing out of coal power. It now has over 120 members, including 34 nations, 44 businesses and organizations and 34 "subnational entities."

Learn more about how the UN views climate change by reading the latest articles at ClimateAlarmism.news.

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