A critical moment’: UN warns world will miss climate targets unless fossil fuels phased out

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Governments are failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and to stave off climate disaster, a major report by the UN has found.

Meeting the goals will require “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels”, the report says, in an acknowledgment that some oil-producing countries may find hard to take.

The need to phase out fossil fuels has not been explicitly adopted by the UN before, under successive rounds of climate talks, and language over “phasing out” or “phasing down” fossil fuels has caused controversy at the annual UN climate talks.

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There is a “rapidly narrowing window” for governments to move faster, according to the report, as global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest, and be rapidly reduced from there, to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

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