Press Release

UNDP Moldova launches “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of fossil fuel subsidies on people and environment

12 November 2021

  • UNDP Moldova launched today “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign, to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of fossil fuel subsidies on people’s health and environment.

To spotlight its hugely negative impacts, an engaging short film was produced, with a talking dinosaur to the United Nations’ headquarters, to urge more climate action from global leaders. Bursting into the iconic General Assembly Hall, famous for history-making speeches by leaders from around the world, the imposing dinosaur tells an audience of shocked and bewildered diplomats and dignitaries that “it’s time humans stopped making excuses and started making changes” to address the climate crisis.

“At least we had an asteroid,” the dinosaur warns, referring to the popular theory explaining dinosaurs’ extinction 70 million years ago. “What’s your excuse?”

The dinosaur goes on to highlight how financial support for fossil fuels through subsidies - taxpayers’ money that helps keep the cost of coal, oil and gas low for consumers - is irrational and illogical in the face of a changing climate.

“Think of all the other things you could do with that money. Around the world people are living in poverty. Don’t you think that helping them would make more sense than… paying for the demise of your entire species?” the dinosaur says.

This first-ever film to be made inside the UN General Assembly using computer-generated imagery (CGI) features global celebrities voicing the dinosaur in numerous languages, including actors Jack Black (English), Eiza González (Spanish), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish), and Aïssa Maïga (French).

In Moldova, the video was dubbed by Dumitru Roman alias Beton, screenwriter and actor.”You know, this is an important initiative for me. Besides the fact that I dubbed the dinosaur, I believe in what is being said. That's why I'm going to ask everyone who is watching this video: take care of our planet, we must take action now, to stop global warming, the burning of fossil fuels. Because, if we don't do it now, it can have irreversible effects for the future generations, including my grandchildren,” noted the comedian. The video will be promoted on social media networks.

Also, a competition for Facebook and Instagram users was launched. People are invited to submit photos or video using campaign’s hashtag #AlegețiSăNUDispărețiCaSpecie. Five submissions will be awarded by UNDP Moldova. Learn more about the mechanism of the competition here.

Fossil fuel subsidies are both inefficient and inequitable. Moldova is still highly dependent on fossil fuels and electricity imports as main energy sources. While there is a decrease in the country’s energy intensity, it is three times higher than the average energy intensity in the EU countries. But despite this, Moldova is also among the countries most engaged in climate action, being the fourth country in the world to update its Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement.

“We must transition away from fossil fuels in a strategic and timely manner. Improving energy planning and energy efficiency actions (in most energy intensive sectors such as buildings, transport, industry, etc.)  seem to be the optimal way forward to shift from fossil fuels dependence and build a more just society, addressing the needs of all people,” noted Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

Fossil fuels pollute the air we breathe and dramatically affect our health. Another source is transportation. In Moldova this sector is responsible for 23% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions – the second biggest contributor after the energy sector.

“Our way of life, what we do, we simply press the accelerator pedal, to reach our extinction as a species as soon as possible. As long as we do not change our development paradigm, we will not change our approach, we have all the chances to get to that finish line faster,” said Iuliana Cantaragiu, Minister of Environment.

The total primary energy supply of Moldova increased by an average of 1-2% annually during 2010-2017. The consumption of fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) decreased gradually during this time, while the shares of electricity and biomass continued to grow.

UNDP’s “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign and film aim to shine a spotlight on fossil fuel subsidies and how they are canceling out significant progress towards ending climate change and are driving inequality by benefiting the rich.

UNDP research released as part of the campaign shows that the world spends an astounding US $423 billion annually to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers – oil, electricity that is generated by the burning of other fossil fuels, gas, and coal.

Laura Bohantova-avatar

Laura Bohantova

Communications Analyst, UNDP Country Office

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