Carbon emissions from 2010-2019 hit record high, UN chief says
Harmful carbon emissions globally from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, proof that the world is on a "fast track" to disaster, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday.
The UN chief made the comments in reaction to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), pointing out that unless action is taken soon, some major cities will be under water.
In a video message, Guterres forecast "unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals."
"This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies," he said.
"We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5 degree Celsius, limit" that was agreed in Paris in 2015."
Guterres echoed the IPCC's insistence that all countries must reduce their fossil fuel use substantially, extend access to electricity, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.
According to the IPCC report – written by hundreds of leading scientists and agreed by 195 countries – greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity, have increased since 2010 "across all major sectors globally."
The intergovernmental body however acknowledged efforts to cut down on emissions and urged governments to ramp up action to curb emissions.
The IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee pointed out that the decisions taken now will be vital for securing the earth's future.
"I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation."
To limit global warming to around 1.5C (2.7°F), the IPCC report insisted that global greenhouse gas emissions would have to peak "before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43 per cent by 2030."