UN Secretary-General – No New Coal Plants!

  • Addressing the virtual World Economic Forum yesterday, the United Nations’ Secretary-General, António Guterres, told world and business leaders that “global solidarity is missing in action”.
  • Over the last two decades, the economic toll from climate-related disasters skyrocketed by 82 per cent. 
  • Just last year, extreme weather caused $120 billion in insured losses, and killed 10,000 people.
  • The first priority must be a targeted phase-out of coal he said, ‘no new coal plants should be built.’ 

In 2020, climate shocks forced 30 million people to flee their homes, three times more than those displaced by war and violence. And one billion children are at an extremely high risk of suffering the impacts of climate change.

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the World Economic Forum., by UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

“Turning this ship around will take immense willpower and ingenuity from governments and businesses alike, in every major-emitting nation”, Mr. Guterres said.


For the Secretary-General, the first priority must be a targeted phase-out of coal. No new coal plants should be built.

The Governments of Indonesia and Vietnam just announced their intention to get out of coal and transition to renewable energy. South Africa now has in place a just energy transition partnership to move beyond coal.

Last week, the UN chief took part in a meeting of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, a group that has mobilized more than $130 trillion around the net-zero goal.

For him, the alliance “has set the gold standard”, and “the entire the financial system should follow their lead.”

Across all three of these areas, Mr. Guterres argued, the international community needs the support, ideas, financing and voice of the global business community.

According to him, the world “cannot afford to replicate the inequalities and injustices that continue condemning tens of millions of people to lives of want, poverty and poor health.”

“We cannot continue building walls between the haves and have-nots”, he concluded.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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