Guterres considers a return to investment in fossil fuels as suicide

At a time when the fight against climate change is losing its prominence due to the war in Ukraine, the UN is holding the Oceans Conference in Lisbon. Euronews journalist Sérgio Ferreira de Almeida talks about it with UN Secretary General António Guterres in The Global Conversation. The first question is: how can we put climate change and the fight against global warming back on the front page of the international agenda, the reporter asks.

“Well… by doing everything possible to do so, and by raising the issue as much as possible, on all fronts. And, if you look at the war in Ukraine, the conflict in Ukraine shows how important it would have been if, over the last decades, we had invested massively in renewables. If that had happened, we would not be today at the mercy of the fossil fuel industry, with prices that are extremely high, as you know, and undermine the quality of life of people, and undermine the situation of many developing countries. So, if the war in Ukraine shows anything, it’s that we have to accelerate the ecological transition, which means we have to fight climate change much more effectively,” says António Guterres, UN Secretary General.

But… we’re seeing world leaders investing in fossil fuels again. How can we convince them, the Euronews reporter wants to know.

“That’s suicide. And… I hope people understand that suicide is not exactly the best way to face the future,” says António Guterres.

At the same time, it is difficult to convince ordinary people, who are facing problems with food, with energy… that they have to give priority to climate change, and to the fight against global warming. How can that be done, asks Sérgio Ferreira de Almeida.

“Well, first of all, we have to try to solve the problem, that is, take care of ‘food security.’ That’s why we are so involved in trying to create the conditions so that, both Ukrainian food products, and food products, and fertilizers from Russia, have access to world markets; precisely, to improve the situation, and allow prices to come down. And, I think, also, there are other initiatives in relation to energy prices. But, obviously, in this situation, especially with fossil fuels so expensive, there is a good reason to use them as little as possible. So, in the common interest, we have to continue, with determination, in the fight against climate change. Because it is the only way to avoid, in future situations of this kind, a dramatic dependence on the instability of fossil fuel markets,” says the UN Secretary General.

The Global Conversation
Sérgio Ferreira de Almeida interviews António Guterres at the Oceans Conference.The Global Conversation
And… we are seeing that, also, the seas and the oceans are being used as a weapon. They use access to the sea. The Black Sea is being used as a weapon. We are seeing, and we have seen, some young people, here, with messages about mines in the ocean. How can we manage that?” the Euronews journalist asks.

“First of all, it’s about access to Ukrainian ports. That is exactly what the UN plan, which was presented to the Russians, and to the Ukrainians, with the support of Turkey, is all about. We hope that a meeting can be held soon in Istanbul, so that, on the basis of the various consultations that have been made, namely at the bilateral level, by the military of these three countries, it will be possible to reach an agreement that will allow the export of Ukrainian grain. And, at the same time, for international countries to facilitate exports of food and fertilizers from Russia, because, it is true that there are no sanctions applied to food and fertilizers, but there are complexities in maritime transport, in insurance, in payments that need to be addressed…. And, therefore, we have been in close contact with the European Union, with the United States and with Russia, in order to be able to have, in addition, a package of agreements, which implies the access of Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer products to the world markets”, the Portuguese politician points out.

Russia is a major player in this fight, and is it possible that it will re-enter the scene to help the world fight climate change, the reporter asks.


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