UN Chief calls for an outright ban on all fossil fuel advertising

Home*Cover Story*International

UN Chief calls for an outright ban on all fossil fuel advertising

The world’s fossil fuel industries should be banned from advertising to help save the world from climate change, the head of the United Nations said on Wednesday.

UN Secretary General António Guterres called coal, oil and gas corporations the “godfathers of climate chaos” who had distorted the truth and deceived the public for decades.

Just as tobacco advertising was banned because of the threat to health, the same should now apply to fossil fuels, he said.

His remarks were his most damning condemnation yet of the industries responsible for the bulk of global warming. They came as new studies showed the rate of warming is increasing and that global heat records have continued to tumble.

Data from the EU’s climate service confirms that each of the past 12 months set a new global temperature record for the time of year. The high temperatures were driven by human-caused climate change, although they were also given a small boost by the El Niño climate phenomenon.

While a fading El Niño should soon bring a pause to the record-breaking sequence of months, temperatures will continue to rise in the long-term due to emissions of planet-warming gases from human activities.

Last year was the hottest on record and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday that the record could fall again as soon as this year.

A group of around 50 leading scientists separately reported that the rate of global warming caused by humans has continued to increase.

They found that ongoing high emissions of warming gases mean the world is moving closer to breaching the symbolic 1.5C warming mark on a longer-term basis.

To try to avert this outcome, the UN Secretary General has called for more rapid political action on climate change, and a “clampdown” on the fossil fuel industry.

“We must directly confront those in the fossil fuel industry who have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress – over decades.”

He said many in the oil, gas and coal industries had “shamelessly greenwashed” with lobbying, legal action and massive advertising campaigns.

“I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies,” he told an audience in New York.

“And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising.”