‘No need for countries to use coal in coronavirus recovery plans,’ says UN chief Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday encouraged countries to use environmental-friendly energy sources for their plans to counter the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and said that there was a need to create more sustainable systems.
“We cannot go back to the way it was and simply recreate the systems that have aggravated the crisis,” Guterres said at a virtual press conference before presenting an overview of the United Nations’ Response on Covid-19. “We need to build back better with more sustainable, inclusive, gender-equal societies and economies.”
“There is no good reason, for example, for any country to include coal in their Covid-19 recovery plans,” Guterres added. “This is the time to invest in energy sources that don’t pollute, don’t cause emissions, generate decent jobs and save money.”
Guterres did not name any country but his remark seemed to be in reference to India. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the Centre will auction 41 mines to boost private sector investments in coal, as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore special economic package to help the country recuperate from the economic fallout of the coronavirus. The process was opened for domestic as well as global firms under the 100% foreign direct investment route. The prime minister had said that the auction would be a huge step in meeting India’s energy demands and boosting economic development.
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The UN chief has maintained that coal is a major threat to climate. Last year, Guterres had stressed on the need to stop the creation of new coal-based power plants in Asia. “There is an addiction to coal that we need to overcome because it remains a major threat in relation to climate change,” he had said.