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The leader of the United Nations, António Guterres, urges Cop28 to take action against the rapid decline of the climate.

“We are living through climate collapse in real time,” UN secretary-general António Guterres has told Cop28 delegates in Dubai.

He presented at the unveiling of the World Meteorological Organization’s alarming State of the Climate report, which predicted that 2023 will surpass all previous years as the hottest on record.

“This year, we have witnessed the devastation caused by fires, floods, and extreme temperatures in communities worldwide,” stated Guterres. “The record-breaking levels of global warming should alarm world leaders and compel them to take action.”

The WMO released a report at the time of Cop28 negotiations, stating that climate records were broken in 2023, resulting in widespread destruction and hopelessness.

Information up until the end of October indicated that 2023 was approximately 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than pre-industrial levels. This increase was caused by the ongoing increase in carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, as well as the return of the El Niño climate pattern. It is expected that 2024 will also set a new record due to the latter, bringing us closer to the internationally agreed limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The levels of greenhouse gases have reached a new record high, along with global temperatures and sea level rise. Additionally, Antarctic sea ice has hit a record low. WMO secretary-general, Prof Petteri Taalas, describes this as a deafening noise of shattered records.”

“These figures represent more than just numbers,” he stated. “The severe weather conditions are causing devastation to individuals and their means of living every day. This highlights the urgent importance of ensuring that all individuals have access to early warning systems for protection. We cannot go back to the climate of the 1900s, but we must take action immediately to minimize the dangers of a progressively hostile climate in the present and future.”

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that temperature records for June, July, August, September, and October 2023 have been unprecedentedly high, earning the description of being “incredibly astounding.”

² below the previous record.

The decrease in Antarctic sea ice coverage has been particularly surprising. In 2023, the maximum extent at the end of winter was the lowest ever recorded, with a difference of 1 million square kilometers from the previous record.2

Smaller than the previous lowest recorded level, an expanse larger than the combined size of France and Germany.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, severe weather had significant consequences across all continents. A Mediterranean cyclone named Daniel caused flooding in Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey, and resulted in numerous fatalities in Libya. In February and March, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi were affected by a long-lasting tropical cyclone named Freddy. In May, the Bay of Bengal experienced one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record, called Mocha.

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In July, southern Europe and north Africa experienced some of the most intense heat, with temperatures reaching 48.2C in Italy and 50.4C in Morocco. In Canada, the wildfire season was particularly destructive, burning an area six times larger than average and causing significant air pollution in densely populated regions of eastern Canada and the north-eastern US. The deadliest wildfire of the year occurred in Hawaii, resulting in at least 99 deaths – the deadliest wildfire in the US in over a century.

Guterres delivered a direct statement to the 198 countries in talks at Cop28, emphasizing the importance of following the roadmap to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C and prevent severe climate consequences. He urged leaders to take action at Cop28 by committing to significantly increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, as well as phasing out fossil fuels within a specified timeframe aligned with the 1.5C limit.

Previously, he had expressed disapproval of a less forceful expression that some coal, oil, and gas producing nations prefer to use when discussing the end of fossil fuel usage. He stated, “I believe it would be unfortunate if we were to adopt a ambiguous and noncommittal ‘phase-down’ term, which would not be clear to anyone.”

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Source: theguardian.com