UN Chief Guterres warns: ‘The era of global boiling has begun’ as July is set to be the hottest month ever recorded

Elizabeth Smith

The month drawing to a close has already been declared by the United Nations as the hottest ever recorded. So much that UN Chief Antonio Guterres speaks of “global boiling era”.

Although there are still a few days to go, the data collected in this scorching July by the World Meteorological Organisation WMO and the EU agency Copernicus’ European observatory are already sufficient to affirm this.

July 2023: anomalous heat in the northern hemisphere

The anomalous heat across the northern hemisphere of this July is unparalleled since complete data records have existed, namely since 1940.

The previous record was set in July 2019. And, although there are no historical records available prior to the current one, according to meteorologists this is a level of temperature probably ‘unprecedented’ in thousands of years.

The situation is such that it prompted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to speak of a ‘global boil’. “The era of global warming is over,” he said, “now it is time for the era of global boiling”.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And this is only the beginning”. WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas also said that “the climate extremes experienced by millions of people in July are just the harsh reality of climate change. A preview of what the future holds”.

The global heat wave of July is unprecedented in history

Although paleoclimatologists do not have datasets comparable to today’s for centuries past, they study the growth rings of tree trunks and fossils.

Based on what can be reconstructed, the temperatures recorded this July are “unprecedented in our history of the last few thousand years“. And perhaps even over a period in the order of 100 thousand years.

Scientists: the causes of global warming are due to human activities

Two days ago, the World Weather Attribution (WWA) scientific network had confirmed that such record levels would be “almost impossible” without the greenhouse effect due to polluting emissions.

US President Joe Biden himself said that ‘global warming is an existential threat’. And that ‘no one can deny its impact any longer’.

Also today, the International Energy Agency stated that global coal consumption has not only not declined. But it reached an all-time high in 2022 and is set to rise again this year.

The burning of coal, used for electricity and industrial production, is responsible for a large part of the emissions that contribute to global warming.

In 2022, the Agency reported, consumption of this fossil energy source grew by 3.3 per cent to 8.3 billion tonnes. And it will remain at the same level this year. ‘As strong growth in coal use in Asia, both for power generation and industrial applications, will outpace declines in the United States and Europe,’ the report said.

Read also: Climate change: what areas of the world are most vulnerable to extreme heat waves

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