'Clean up your act,' UN climate chief urges coal industry

# 19 November 2013 01:32 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The U.N. climate chief urged a radical clean-up of the coal industry on Monday to help limit global warming, at an industry meeting in Warsaw condemned by environmentalists as a distraction from the nearby U.N. climate change conference, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N.'s Climate Change Secretariat, told the coal summit that the industry had to change "rapidly and dramatically" to limit high pollution and carbon emissions, including in heavily coal-dependent Poland.

She urged the industry to "leave most existing reserves in the ground", to shut inefficient plants and to capture and bury all emissions of carbon dioxide from coal-fired plants, a technology that has proved too costly so far for wide use.

As she did so, Greenpeace activists scaled the Polish Economy Ministry, hosting the coal summit, and unfurled a 15-metre (50 foot) banner asking: "Who rules the world? Fossil industry or the people?"

An international panel of climate scientists says fossil fuel use is extremely likely to be the main cause of a sharp rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution that is now changing the climate.

A group of 27 leading climate scientists working with the panel's data said in Warsaw that there were 3.8 trillion tonnes (1 tonne = 1.102 metric tons) of carbon dioxide trapped in the world's fossil reserves, about 60 percent of it in coal.

They said 1 trillion tonnes would suffice to push the post-industrial temperature rise past 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), set by governments as a ceiling to avoid rising sea levels as well as worsening heatwaves, droughts and floods.