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A dangerously hot climate, simmering political tensions: ‘This is not the summer of our youth,’ UN chief warns

Photo by Mark Garten

Briefing the press at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Guterres noted that, while there have always been hot summers, this is “not the summer of our youth”, but a climate emergency.

Indeed, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) shows that 2019 had the hottest June ever, with records broken from New Delhi to the Arctic Circle.

July is also on course to equal, or surpass the hottest month in recorded history, and 2015 to 2019 are likely to be the five hottest years on record.

“If we do not take action on climate change now”, said Mr. Guterres, “these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg. And that iceberg is also rapidly melting.”

UN Climate Summit: ‘ticket to entry is bold action’

Turning to the Climate Action Summit, slated for 23 September in New York, the UN chief said that the ticket to entry – for governments, business and civil society – is “bold action and much greater ambition”.

This will be needed if the world is to limit temperature increases to 1.5C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, by cutting 45 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Beautiful speeches”, he continued, are therefore not enough: leaders need to come to New York on September 23 with concrete plans to reach these goals. Mr Guterres said that many solutions are available and are already being implemented.

“We need rapid and deep change in how we do business, generate power, build cities and feed the world.”



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