Amid Climate Collapse, Leaders Must Act Further, Faster to Limit Global Temperature Rise, Secretary-General Says at World Meteorological Organization Report Launch

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) “State of the Global Climate 2023” report launch, in Dubai today:

The State of the Global Climate in 2023 is stark and clear: Things are moving so fast that a full month before the end of the year, we can already declare that 2023 is the hottest year recorded in human history.

Sea levels have reached record highs — and the rise is accelerating; sea surface temperatures have reached a record high; and sea ice levels in Antarctica have hit a record low.  Swiss glaciers have lost 10 per cent of their volume in the past two years.  I have just come back from Nepal, where I was shocked at the speed of receding glaciers and the dramatic consequences.

We are living through climate collapse in real time — and the impact is devastating.  This year has seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods, and searing temperatures.  Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders.  And it should trigger them to act.

We have the road map to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C and avoid the worst of climate chaos.  But we need leaders to fire the starting gun at COP28 [twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] on a race to keep the 1.5°C limit alive:  By setting clear expectations for the next round of climate action plans and committing to the partnerships and finance to make them possible; by committing to triple renewables and double energy efficiency; and committing to phase out fossil fuels, with a clear time frame aligned to the 1.5°C limit.

We must also go further and faster in protecting people from climate chaos.  Every person on Earth must be protected by an early warning system by 2027, by putting in place the action plan we launched last year.  And every vulnerable developing country should have the support they need to develop and implement adaptation investment plan by 2025.  Leaders must get the Loss and Damage Fund off to a flying start, with generous, early contributions.

Developed countries must honour the promise to deliver $100 billion a year in climate finance; and they must present a clear plan showing how they will make good on their commitment to double adaptation finance by 2025, as a first step to ensuring at least half of all climate finance goes to adaptation.

Today’s report shows we’re in deep trouble.  Leaders must get us out of it — starting at COP28.

For information media. Not an official record.