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The head of the United Nations urges South-East Asia to abandon coal.

According to the statement made yesterday by the head of the United Nations, António Guterres, Asia must do more to get rid of its dependence on coal.

In particular, Guterres appealed to Asian countries that in the face of the climate crisis, which is “the defining issue of our time,” we must overcome a serious threat: the intensive use of coal.

The statement was made at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Bangkok on Saturday. Those countries must reform their energy policies and start doing so as soon as possible.

Coal remains one of the most widely used non-renewable energy sources, especially in Southeast Asia. In these areas, economic development in recent decades has contributed to even greater consumption growth, all at the expense of the environment.

Countries are certainly not going backwards: Thailand is increasingly investing in fossil fuels, as well as Vietnam, which plans to build new coal-fired power plants. That is not to mention China, where coal use is unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Guterres also mentioned the Rohingya, an ethnic group, mostly Muslim, that lives in Myanmar and is being persecuted, as in 2017 alone nearly 750,000 people from this ethnic group were forced to relocate to Bangladesh. The head of the United Nations himself, therefore, urged Myanmar to address this issue.

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Science In Me, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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Martin Hill