António Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, was scornful of the industry in a speech on Monday, in which he expressed incredulity at the “monster profits” of fossil fuel companies at a time when the world needs to be rapidly slashing its planet-heating emissions to avoid climate breakdown.
“If you cannot set a credible course for net-zero [emissions], with 2025 and 2030 targets covering all your operations, you should not be in business,” Guterres said. “Your core product is our core problem. We need a renewables revolution, not a self-destructive fossil fuel resurgence.”
Even though the rollout of renewable energy such as solar and wind is gathering momentum around the world, countries are still forging ahead with numerous “carbon bomb” projects that would push the world beyond agreed “safe” temperature limits. Last year, more than 1tn dollars were invested in fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction worldwide.