'Half of humanity already in danger zone': UN implores climate change action for World Meteorological Day
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday the world is still failing in its goal to limit emissions in its fight against climate change.
UNITED NATIONS -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday the world is still failing in its goal to limit emissions in its fight against climate change.
His remarks came on World Meteorological Day and stressed that human-caused climate disruption is now damaging every nation.
"Half of humanity is already in the danger zone," Guterres said.
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The UN's goal is to keep global temperature rise limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius over last century's average but to reach that goal, the planet would need a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon-neutral status by 2050. Guterres says instead, global emissions are still rising, set to rise by nearly 14% this decade.
"Each increment of global heating will further increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events," he said. "The world must end its addiction to fossil fuels, especially coal."
But the world must focus on adaption and resilience to the planet's changing climate, including receiving early warnings for storms, heatwaves, floods and droughts, Guterres said. Overall, 33% of the world's population is not covered by any early warning systems -- 60% in Africa.
"This is unacceptable, particularly with climate impacts sure to get even worse," Guterres said.
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Guterres says the UN will work with the World Meteorological Organization on a new plan to ensure the planet is protected by early warning systems across the globe within five years.
"We must boost the power of prediction for everyone and build their capacity to act," he said. " Early warning systems save lives. Let us ensure they are working for everyone."
The WMO will present the plan at the next UN climate conference scheduled for later this year in Egypt.