From Global Warming to Boiling: UN Chief's Chilling Climate Warning
July 2023: The hottest month on record confirms our transition into the era of 'Global Boiling'. This frightening reality requires a swift and powerful response from the world's leaders.
In the face of rapidly escalating global temperatures, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared that we've moved beyond the era of global warming into a phase he dubbed the "era of global boiling." With July 2023 shaping up to be the hottest month ever recorded, Guterres emphasized the urgent need for radical climate action.
"Climate change is no longer an imminent threat; it's a terrifying reality," Guterres said. "This isn't global warming anymore; it's global boiling. It's the start of a severe and immediate phase of climate change."
The record-breaking temperatures of the past three weeks confirm that the crisis is accelerating at an alarming pace. Driven by pollution that traps sunlight and acts like a greenhouse around Earth, the rise in global temperatures has exacerbated weather extremes and fueled devastating heatwaves in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Guterres criticized the continuing profitability of fossil fuels amidst the climate crisis, calling the inaction of industry and political leaders "unacceptable". The UN chief stated, "The air is unbreathable, the heat is unbearable, and the fossil fuel profits amidst this crisis are indefensible. Leaders must act. Delay, excuses, and a lack of urgency can no longer be tolerated."
Guterres emphasized that urgent action could still limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, thereby mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. "Dramatic, immediate climate action is the only option," he stressed.
Echoing Guterres's concerns, World Meteorological Organization Secretary General Petteri Taalas underlined the critical need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Climate action isn't a luxury. It's a necessity," he warned.
According to Karsten Haustein at Leipzig University, the world was 1.5°C (2.7°F) hotter in July 2023 than before industrialisation, making it almost certainly the warmest month ever recorded.
As leaders prepare to gather in the United Arab Emirates in November for the COP28 summit, Guterres urged them to commit to carbon neutrality and other robust measures to prevent the catastrophic impacts of global warming. He encouraged a shift from despair to action, transforming 2023 from a "year of burning heat" to a "year of burning ambition" to combat climate change.