UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the era of “global boiling” has already begun.
His comments come after weeks of intense heatwaves and wildfires felt all around the world recently. UN scientists has also predicted that this July will be recorded as the hottest month ever recorded across the globe.
Speaking from New York, Guterres said it has been a “cruel summer” for countries in Europe, China and North America.
He also said that this month’s extreme heat worldwide which will “shatter records across the board”.
He said: “For the entire planet, it is a disaster. For scientists it is unequivocal. Humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings.”
Guterres continued: “The only surprise is the speed of the change. 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 pointed out that the air is “unbreathable”, the heat is “unbearable” while the fossil fuel profits and climate inaction are “unacceptable”.
He called for world leaders to stop hesitating and making excusing, or waiting for others to move first – “there is simply no more time for that”.
Guterres continued: “Ambitious renewable energy goals must be in line with 1.5 degree limits.
“We must reach net zero electricity by 2035 in developed countries and 2040 elsewhere, as we work to bring affordable electricity to everyone on Earth.
“We also need action from leaders beyond governments.”
He said extreme weather was becoming the “new normal”, and countries have to adapt – and introduce climate warning systems.
But, he did add a more optimistic note, saying: “It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C and avoid the very worst of climate change – but only with dramatic immediate climate action.”
This July was about 1.5C hotter than preindustrial averages for this month – so it could be a taster of the temperatures which global leaders are aiming for by 2050.
However, at the moment, some scientists believe we will overshoot even that, and global temperatures will increase by even more before the end of the decade.
This is far from the first time the secretary-general has spoken up about climate change.
In December, he claimed humanity was becoming a “weapon of mass extinction”, and “treating nature like a toilet” as so many species may be able to disappear forever.
In September, he urged rich countries to impose tax on fossil fuel firms “feasting” on windfall profits.