UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a powerful message on climate change on 27 July, urging immediate radical action to address the record-shattering July temperatures, which he believes indicate that the Earth has entered an “era of global boiling” surpassing warming phase.
Guterres described the intense heat experienced across the Northern Hemisphere as a “cruel summer” and emphasised that it is a disaster for the entire planet. He predicted that July 2023 will likely break numerous temperature records, highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis. “For the entire planet, it is a disaster,” Antonio said, adding that “short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board.”
The UN chief reiterated that climate change is not a distant threat but a terrifying reality that humanity is currently facing. He stressed that the era of global warming is over, and the world has now entered a new phase where the consequences of climate change are severe and immediate. “Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived,” he stated.
Guterres noted that the extreme impacts of climate change have been consistent with scientists’ “predictions and repeated warnings” while “only surprise is the speed of the change.” He called out the fossil fuel sector once again, criticizing the level of profits and inaction despite the dire situation.
“The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable,” former Portuguese prime minister stated.
Urging leaders to take decisive action, Guterres called for an end to hesitancy, excuses, and waiting for others to take the first step. He called for a swift and far-reaching response to the crisis.
Looking ahead to the Climate Ambition Summit scheduled for September, Guterres asked developed countries to commit to achieving carbon neutrality as close to 2040 as possible and emerging economies to aim for the same goal as close to 2050 as they can.
In the face of the destruction caused by humanity, Guterres stressed the importance of turning despair into action. He urged the world to transform the current “year of burning heat” into a “year of burning ambition” to tackle the climate crisis and prevent the worst outcomes.
( With inputs from AFP)