June 14th, 2024

UN secretary-general calls for ‘windfall’ tax on profits of fossil fuel companies


By The Associated Press on June 5, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called Wednesday for a “windfall” tax on profits of fossil fuel companies to help pay for the fight against global warming, decrying them as the “godfathers of climate chaos.”

In a bare-knuckled speech timed for World Environment Day, Guterres – who has repeatedly spoken out about the threat of climate change – said that global emissions of carbon dioxide must fall 9% each year to 2030 for the 1.5-degree target to be kept alive.

The burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – is the main contributor to global warming caused by human activity.

He called on advanced economies in the Group of 20 countries – who are holding a summit in Brazil next month – to take the lead.

“We cannot accept a future where the rich are protected in air-conditioned bubbles, while the rest of humanity is lashed by lethal weather in unliveable lands,” Guterres said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The previous story is below.

The U.N. weather agency on Wednesday predicted that there’s an 80% chance that average global temperatures will surpass the 1.5 Celsius-degree (2.7 degree-Fahrenheit) target laid out in the landmark Paris climate accord within the next five years.

The World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday that the global mean near-surface temperature for each year from 2024 to 2028 is expected to range between 1.1 and 1.9 degrees Celsius hotter than at the start of the industrial era.

It also estimated that there’s nearly a one-in-two chance – 47% – that the average global temperatures over that entire five-year span could top 1.5 C, an increase from just under a one-in-three chance projected for the 2023-2027 span.

The report was cited in a sweeping speech about the threat of climate change by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to mark World Environment Day.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s climate service says last month marked the hottest May ever, capping 12 straight months of average monthly temperature records amid high and rising concerns about global warming.

The EU’s Copernicus climate change service, a global reference for tracking world temperatures, cited an average surface air temperature of 15.9 C (60.6 F) last month – or 1.52 C higher than the estimated May average before industrial times.

The burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – is the main contributor to global warming caused by human activity.

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