CORRECTED-UN climate chief urges radical clean-up of oil, gas industry

Thu Apr 3, 2014 7:44am EDT
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(Corrects paragraph 11 to "trillion tonnes" from "billion tonnes")

* Figueres says three quarters of reserves may have to stay in ground

* UN wants "urgent transformation" towards greener future

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO, April 3 (Reuters) - The U.N.'s climate chief called on the oil and gas industry on Thursday to make a drastic shift to a clean, low-carbon future or risk having to leave three-quarters of fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

"The time for experimentation, for marginal changes and for conditional response is now over," Christiana Figueres told the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) in a speech in London.

She urged an "urgent transformation" to greener production after top scientists warned on Monday that climate change would damage food supplies, slow economic growth and aggravate the underlying causes of armed conflicts.

Limiting global warming to an agreed U.N. ceiling "means that three quarters of the fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground, and the fossil fuels we do use must be utilized sparingly and responsibly," she said.

Oil and gas firms say they are addressing global warming, for instance by focusing on energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies.   Continued...