UN secretary general, António Guterres, has warned that the “era of global boiling has arrived.”
Scientists have also confirmed that July is on track to be the world’s hottest month on record.
“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” Guterres said on Thursday while addressing the press.
“It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C [above pre-industrial levels], and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action.”
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme, global temperatures this month have shattered records, stoked by the burning of fossil fuels and spurring violent weather.
The WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas, said: “The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”
Guterres’s comments came after scientists confirmed on Thursday that the past three weeks have been the hottest since records began and July is on track to becoming the hottest month ever recorded.
The steady rise in global average temperatures, driven by pollution that traps sunlight and acts like a greenhouse around the Earth, has made weather extremes worse.
“Humanity is in the hot seat,” Guterres told a press conference on Thursday.
“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 urged politicians 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.”