UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said here Thursday that more than ever before, climate change is posing a great threat to humanity.
The UN chief reminded governments and society of such threat and of the relentless pace of change, which may overtake our ability to deal with the problem.
Guterres said in his remarks at the United Nations that climate change is already making a large impact on humans around the world. Both in the short term and long term, we must take steps to address this enormous problem.
According to the International Monetary Fund, there were over 320 billion U.S. dollars worth of damages worldwide last year related to climate change and 41 million people in South Asia were flooded and 900,000 in Africa, he said.
At the same time, wild fires raged all across the world and the Arctic Sea was lower in Winter than ever before. Lastly, Carbon Dioxide and Methane are at the highest levels in out atmosphere in 800,000 years Guterres said.
Fossil fuels, which accounted for 70 percent of the growth in energy demand last year, are still growing rampantly, he said, adding that according to IMF, fossil fuels are subsidized to the tune of 5.3 trillion dollars per year, or about 6 percent of global GDP.
Scientists have noted that we are already falling behind the commitments made under the Paris Climate accord of 2016 to limit the global rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the UN chief said.
"We need to continue to bend the emissions curve and cut the growth in emissions 25 percent by 2020," Guterres said.
According to the secretary-general, we are not completely without hope as many new technologies and initiatives are being made to resolve the problem.
Guterres quoted the popular statement as saying that "The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones."
He said that technologies have made new energy affordable and competitive with fossil fuels and are growing extremely quickly. He mentioned that we now need a race to the top to achieve even better solutions.
With the combined effort of governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and general citizens, crisis can still be averted, he said.