Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN’s Guterres warns Asia’s ‘coal addiction’ risks lives of millions




UN’s Guterres warns Asia’s ‘coal addiction’ risks lives of millions

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Miners unload coal at a small private mine near the Jiayang coal mine in Qianwei in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan. LIU JIN/AFP

UN’s Guterres warns Asia’s ‘coal addiction’ risks lives of millions

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday warned Asia to quit its “addiction” to coal, as climate change threatens hundreds of millions of people vulnerable to rising sea levels across the region.

The warning follows fresh research this week predicting that several Asian megacities, including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai, are at risk of extreme flooding linked to global warming.

Guterres said Asian countries need to cut their reliance on coal to tackle the climate crisis, which he called the “defining issue of our time”.

“There is an addiction to coal that we need to overcome because it remains a major threat in relation to climate change,” he told reporters ahead of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok on Saturday.

‘We are lagging’

He said countries in the region need to be on “the front line” of the fight by introducing carbon pricing and reforming energy policies.

“We are lagging,” he said, adding that the rollback of coal could help curb rising global temperatures.

Coal remains a major source of power across Southeast Asia, where breakneck economic development has spurred soaring energy demands – but at a cost to the environment.

About one-third of Vietnam’s energy comes from coal power with a slew of new plants set to come online by 2050, while Thailand is investing in fossil fuels.

Climate crisis

Coastal areas across Southeast Asia have already seen major floods and seawater incursion linked to climate change.

New research this week showed that at least 300 million people worldwide are living in places at risk of inundation by 2050, a much bleaker picture than previous data predicted.

Destructive storm surges fuelled by increasingly powerful cyclones and rising seas will hit Asia hardest, according to the study in the journal Nature Communications.

The study found that with even with moderate reductions in green house gasses, some 237 million people in six Asian countries would still face the threat of annual coastal flooding.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last