Fossil fuel corps 'have humanity by throat' - UN chief
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres heavily criticizes the fossil fuel industry and calls for climate action as the world undergoes a climate emergency.
Corporations in the fossil fuel sector and the banks that provide them with financing have "humanity by the throat," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday, heavily chastizing the extensively lucrative industry over its recent price hikes in light of the Ukraine war.
Guterres went on to compare oil conglomerates to Big Tobacco, which continued pushing their highly addictive and harmful products, all the while dismissing and obscuring health advice linking the usage of smoking and cancer.
"We seem trapped in a world where fossil fuel producers and financiers have humanity by the throat. For decades, the fossil fuel industry has invested heavily in pseudoscience and public relations – with a false narrative to minimize their responsibility for climate change and undermine ambitious climate policies," he said in reference to the greenwashing campaigns launched by the biggest oil corporations in a bid to seem more eco friendly while contributing to economic collapse.
"They exploited precisely the same scandalous tactics as big tobacco decades before. Like tobacco interests, fossil fuel interests and their financial accomplices must not escape responsibility," the UN chief underlined before the Major Economies Forum.
The forum was organized by the White House, and it consisted of US President Joe Biden hosting the leaders of several bodies and countries from around the world with climate change in mind as the US leader prepares to head to Saudi Arabia to convince Riyadh and other Gulf states to pump out more oil into the energy market.
The Biden admin has been cooperating closer and closer with Saudi Arabia in recent months, especially on the Saudi-led war on Yemen, as Washington pushed Riyadh to extend an armistice with Sanaa. Biden also went as far as praising the role of Saudi officials in the armistice, saying that the country "demonstrated courageous leadership" just because it decided to stop dropping bombs on Yemeni civilians - as it has been doing for nearly a decade.
Guterres also stressed the importance of investing in greener, renewable energy, saying: "Had we invested earlier and massively in renewable energy, we would not find ourselves once again at the mercy of unstable fossil fuel markets [...] Wind, sun, and tides never run out."
Without bolder climate action, he underlined, inflation, climate chaos, conflict, and other related problems "are just the tip of a fast-melting iceberg."
Following a May meeting, more than 70 non-governmental organizations and activist groups from around the world formed a "carbon bomb defusal" network to share expertise and resources in the fight to stop the projects and prevent the catastrophic climate breakdown they would cause.
195 carbon bombs, massive oil and gas projects that would each emit at least a billion tons of CO2 over their lifetimes, amounting to roughly 18 years of current global CO2 emissions, and about 60% of these have already started pumping, ignoring the risks they pose to the already fragile climate.
Check out: The Cost of Climate Change
If completed, these "carbon bombs" would completely decimate any chances for the world to limit its heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
With 22 carbon bombs spanning the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the foothills of Colorado's Front Range and the Permian Basin, the United States is the leading source of emissions from these megaprojects. They have the potential to emit 140 billion tons of CO2, nearly four times what the entire world emits each year.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, with 107 billion tons, is the second-largest potential emitter after the United States, followed by Russia, Qatar, Iraq, Canada, China, and Brazil.