Accelerating temperatures need accelerated action, says UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, on July 27, 2023. Humanity is in the hot seat, Guterres said Thursday, underscoring the need to accelerate climate action. (Xinhua/Xie E)

UNITED NATIONS - Humanity is in the hot seat, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday, underscoring the need to accelerate climate action.

Citing the latest data, Guterres told reporters that July 2023 has already seen the hottest three-week period ever recorded, the three hottest days on record, and the highest-ever ocean temperatures for this time of year.

Official data released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization and the European Commission's Copernicus Climate Change Service confirmed that July 2023 is set to be the hottest month ever recorded in human history.

Guterres said the consequences are clear and tragic, noting that "it is a cruel summer" for vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change, he said.

"The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived," said Guterres.

He stressed that limiting a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible to avoid the very worst of climate change, "but only with dramatic, immediate climate action."

"Accelerating temperatures demand accelerated action," the UN chief said, outlining actions needed to cut emissions, adaptation, and finance.

"We need ambitious new national emissions reduction targets from G20 members," he said.

Guterres said it is time for a global surge in adaptation investment to save millions of lives.

He said that developed countries must present a clear and credible roadmap to double adaptation finance by 2025 as a first step towards devoting at least half of all climate finance to adaptation.

Guterres also urged developed countries to honor their commitments to provide 100 billion U.S. dollars annually to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund.

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