UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (AP)
UNITED Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres sounded the alarm on climate change at the UN's Climate Action Summit yesterday, saying images of Hurricane Dorian's destruction in Grand Bahama and Abaco will be seen more frequently if action is not taken.
"A few days ago, I was in the Bahamas where Hurricane Dorian pounded the country for two unrelenting days," he said at the summit, which was held at the UN's headquarters in New York. "The destruction was not simply appalling. It was apocalyptic."
Secretary Guterres noted the impact of other destructive weather phenomena on the world: in Tuvalu, people are fighting against rising seas; in Mozambique, residents are facing the after effects of unprecedented back-to-back cyclones.
"Seas are rising and oceans are acidifying. Glaciers are melting and corals are bleaching. Droughts are spreading and wildfires are burning. Deserts are expanding and access to water is dwindling, Heatwaves are scorching and natural disasters are multiplying. Storms everywhere are more intense, more frequent, more deadly," he said.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will cause major and irreversible damage to ecosystems.
"But science also tells us it its not too late," Secretary Guterres said. "We can do it. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is still possible. But it will require fundamental transformations in all aspects of society, how we grow food, use land, fuel our transport and power our economies. We need to link climate change to a new model of development - a fair globalisation - with less suffering, more justice and harmony between people and planet."
"As the scientific community has told us again and again, we need to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030; reach carbon neutrality by 2050; and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. And we need to accelerate financial support. The replenishment of the Green Climate Fund is crucial, as is fulfilling the commitment by developed countries to mobilise $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
"Even if we succeed in reducing emissions, many people are already living with the dramatic effects of climate change. Adaptation has therefore become a top priority and an essential condition for increasing the resilience of countries and communities and avoiding human suffering."