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UN: 'The era of global boiling has arrived'

United Nations leaders say human-driven climate change is to blame for the hottest month in recorded history.
A thermometer shows temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Posted at 11:27 AM, Jul 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-28 03:46:59-04

Data from the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization released on Thursday indicates that July 2023 will go down as the hottest month ever recorded in human history. 

The U.N. said July has already had the hottest three-week period ever recorded, the three hottest days on record, and the highest-ever sea-surface temperatures for this time of year.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said the data makes it clear that human-driven climate change is to blame for the spike. 

"It is terrifying and it is just the beginning," Guterres said. "The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. The air is unbreathable, the heat is unbearable and the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable."

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Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown a number of global weather extremes this year. NOAA recorded the hottest average global temperature ever on July 6. NOAA also recorded the hottest average temperature ever for the Northern Hemisphere earlier this week. 

North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures are also set to shatter records. 

All of this combined has Guterres concerned that countries aren't doing enough to curtail carbon emissions. 

"We need a course correction in the global financial system so that it supports accelerated climate action that includes putting a price on carbon and pushing the multilateral development banks to overhaul their business models and approaches to risk," he said. 

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Guterres' comments come on the same day President Joe Biden is meeting with several U.S. mayors to enact new policy initiatives aimed at mitigating the effects of extreme heat. 

The World Meteorological Organization said it is likely that the world will at least temporarily exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years. The U.N. set the target of keeping global temperatures below a 1.5-degree increase by 2030. But officials said they believe the world can still avoid permanently exceeding that threshold. 

“The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is unfortunately the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”