Climate emergency: global action is ‘way off track’ says UN head

(The Guardian, 10 Mar 2020) Deadly heatwaves, floods and rising hunger far greater threat to world than coronavirus, scientists say

The world is “way off track” in dealing with the climate emergency and time is fast running out, the UN secretary general has said.

António Guterres sounded the alarm at the launch of the UN’s assessment of the global climate in 2019. The report concludes it was a record-breaking year for heat, and there was rising hunger, displacement and loss of life owing to extreme temperatures and floods around the world.

Scientists said the threat was greater than that from the coronavirus, and world leaders must not be diverted away from climate action.

The climate assessment is led by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the UN’s agencies for environment, food, health, disasters, migration and refugees, as well as scientific centres.

In 2019 the oceans were at the hottest on record, with at least 84% of the seas experiencing one or more marine heatwaves. Surface air temperatures around the world were the hottest ever recorded, after a natural El Niño event boosted figures in 2016.

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The Guardian, 10 Mar 2020: Climate emergency: global action is ‘way off track’ says UN head