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The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres delivered a scathing rebuke of the fossil fuel industry on Wednesday, labeling oil, gas and coal companies the “godfathers of climate chaos.” He accused them of deceiving the public for decades and distorting the truth about their role in driving dangerous global warming.

Guterres urged countries to ban all advertising and marketing by fossil fuel corporations, just as tobacco advertising has been restricted due to public health risks. “We must directly confront those in the fossil fuel industry who have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress,” he stated. He goes on to  call on advertising & PR companies to stop acting as “enablers to the planetary destruction by working for the fossil fuel industry” and calls on them to Stop taking on new fossil fuel clients & set plans to drop existing ones.

The UN chief’s forceful condemnation comes as new data confirms the relentless pace of climate change. Last year was the hottest on record globally, and each of the past 12 months set a new temperature high driven by human-caused emissions. Scientists warn the symbolic 1.5°C warming threshold could be breached by 2029 at current emission rates.

While fossil fuel representatives insist they are committed to emissions reductions, Guterres accused many companies of “shamelessly greenwashing” through lobbying, litigation and massive ad campaigns. He urged news outlets and tech platforms to stop carrying their ads.

The call for an ad ban goes further than most governments but bolsters activist campaigns against fossil fuel sponsorships. With climate impacts like deadly heat waves and flooding already manifesting, Guterres stressed that urgent action is needed, saying “every fraction of a degree” of warming matters.