The hottest three-week period ever was registered this month, together with a string of hottest days, while ocean temperatures are at their highest-ever recorded levels for this time of year. The era of global warming has ended, and the era of global boiling has arrived, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said after scientists confirmed July was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres held a press conference after the World Meteorological Organization and the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service confirmed that a series of climate records have been broken and that July 2023 was on track to become the hottest on record.
“We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know this. Short of a mini–ice age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board,” Guterres said.
The secretary general pointed to the consequences, describing them as clear and tragic. “Children swept away by monsoon rains; families running from the flames; workers collapsing in scorching heat,” he stated.
The rise in average global temperatures is the result of emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap a large amount of the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. The effect has driven up the temperatures of heat waves in Europe, Asia and North America and made them more lethal, according to an analysis by the World Weather Attribution Network.
“Humanity is in the hot seat. For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe, it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal – humans are to blame,” Guterres stressed.
Leaders must take urgent climate action
It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the very worst of climate change, according to the global organization’s chief. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action, Guterres warned.
The level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable
He urged leaders of states throughout the world and decision makers on a global level to take swift action. “The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. Leaders must lead. No more hesitancy. No more excuses. No more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that,” Guterres underscored.
The secretary-general emphasized the need for global action through three important steps: action on emissions, climate adaptation and climate finance.
He said the leaders of nations must step up for climate action and climate justice, particularly those from the Group of 20 (G20), arguing that they are responsible for 80% of global emissions.
He pointed to upcoming summits – including the UN Climate Ambition Summit in September and the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in November – as critical opportunities.