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United Nations to Texas: Curb reliance on oil and gas to remain prosperous in era of climate change

Texas leads the US in energy production and carbon dioxide emissions. At an upcoming climate change summit, nations will be asked to rapidly cut their emissions.

NEW YORK — The leader of the United Nations says Texas must end its reliance on oil and gas production to remain prosperous in the era of climate change.

At a UN summit next month, world leaders will be asked to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. A vast increase in the production of renewable energy will be required to reach those targets.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says Texas is well-positioned to lead the way in the production of renewables.

“If Texas wants to remain prosperous in 2050 or 2070, Texas will have to diversify its economy and Texas will have to be less dependent on oil and gas,” Guterres said. “It has all the conditions to be – because of the weather in Texas – a leading state in renewable energy in the US,” he added.

Texas is the nation’s largest producer of crude oil and natural gas and the largest emitter of carbon dioxide. While it is deeply entrenched in a carbon-based economy, the state is also the largest producer of wind energy in the United States.

“Texas is prosperous today because Texas is based on what was the main factor of what was wealth and power in the last century. Oil and gas. What we are seeing is, with things changing, the green economy will tend to be preponderant in the future,” Guterres said.

A recent, landmark report from the UN concludes it’s "unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land", already changing the world in some ways that cannot be reversed.

The intention of next month’s UN summit in Glasgow, Scotland is to limit future climate change to 1.5-degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Beyond that, the science shows, the danger of more extreme heat, drought, fire and hurricanes grows exponentially.

At a press conference this week, sponsored by the global media collaborative Covering Climate Now, Guterres struck a dire tone about the outcome of the upcoming summit. “I hope we are still on time to avoid a failure in Glasgow, but time is running short, and things are getting more difficult and that is why I’m very, very worried. I’m afraid things might go wrong,” he said.