Heatwave: UN chief issues stark warning that ‘half of humanity is in danger zone’

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New Delhi: UN chief António Guterres warned that “half of humanity is in the danger zone,” facing floods, drought, extreme storms, and wildfires.

In his video message to leaders from 40 nations gathered in Berlin to discuss climate change response measures as part of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Guterres said, Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future”, declared the Secretary-General, calling on countries to rebuild trust, and come together.

Guterres said that the 2015 Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, was already on life support coming out of COP26 last November, and its “pulse has weakened further”.

The UN Chief made his comments as many nations around the world have been suffering from record high temperatures and raging wildfires especially in European countries from the last few weeks.

On this front, Guterres said there should be a system in place to respond to climate loss and damage that is already affecting the poorest and most vulnerable.

Earlier in a statement, the WMO noted that the UK’s Met Office has, for the first time, issued a “Red Warning” for exceptional heat, and forecast temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on Monday and Tuesday.

The current record high temperature in the UK is 38.7 degrees Celsius, which was reached just three years ago.
Dr Nikos Christidis, climate attribution scientist at the Met Office, added that a recent study has found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century.

“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK”, said Dr. Christidis. “The likelihood of exceeding 40 degrees Celsius anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing, and, even with current pledges on emissions reductions, such extremes could be taking place every 15 years in the climate of 2100” he said.
Many european countries is raging under wildfireswhich have caused hundreds of deaths, and seen thousands of people evacuated from their homes.
In Portugal, temperatures have reached highs up to around 46°C, and red warnings are in effect for much of the country, as hot conditions increase the risk of wildfires.

More than 13,000 hectares of land were on fire in the French Gironde region, and 15 of France’s 96 departments were listed on Red alert and 51 on Orange alert, with residents of those areas urged to be vigilant.

The heatwave in western France is expected to peak on Monday, with temperatures climbing above 40 degrees Celsius.

The extreme heat events do occur within natural climate variation due to changes in global weather patterns.

However, the WMO pointed out that the increase in the frequency, duration, and intensity of these events over recent decades is clearly linked to the observed warming of the planet and can be attributed to human activity.

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