BERLIN – The United Nations is calling in an unusual “witness” to testify to the dangers of burning fossil fuels that are fueling global warming: a dinosaur.
In a video posted on social media ahead of this year’s UN climate summit, a computer-generated dinosaur bursts into the famous hall of the UN General Assembly in New York to tell world diplomats that “extinction is a bad thing”.
The carefree clip, spoken in the English version by actor Jack Black, contains a serious message that the UN development program wants to bring home.
“You are heading for a climate catastrophe,” proclaims the dinosaur. “Yet governments spend hundreds of billions of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies every year. Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions a year subsidizing huge meteors. “
In an accompanying report released on Wednesday, the UN agency says its research shows the world spends more than four times as much each year, about $ 423 billion, to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers, than to help poor countries fight global warming.
The figure does not include the indirect costs of burning oil, coal and gas, such as the damage that fossil fuel emissions cause to the environment and human health.
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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Many governments are suspicious of fear that higher prices could trigger social unrest.
The head of the United Nations Development Program, Achim Steiner, admitted that reforming the system of subsidies for fossil fuels is not easy and could look different in every country.
“But we also know that we need to move away from these sources of energy that are contributing to the decline of our planet,” he said. “The fair and equitable termination of financial assistance to them is a critical element of this transition.”