The temperature scale is shattering, and the planet is heating up. July 2023 was declared the hottest month on record, triggering a dramatic shift in the climate crisis narrative, from global warming to global boiling.
WHAT IS GLOBAL BOILING?
The term “global boiling” evokes a dystopian image, describing a situation where the Earth’s temperatures reach unparalleled levels. On 27 July 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that “the era of global warming has ended, the era of global boiling has arrived”.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), jointly announced that July 2023 holds the record for the highest global surface air temperature according to the ERA5 dataset. In the first and third weeks of July 2023, the average worldwide temperature rose by 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels, breaking the previous record set in August 2016.
“Climate change is here, it is terrifying, and it is just beginning”, added the UN Chief.
The heatwaves that affected a significant portion of North America, Asia, and Europe, coupled with wildfires in nations such as Greece and Canada, have had devastating consequences for the environment, the economy, and public health.
Guterres said that “For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe – it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal – humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change”.
Carlo Buontempo, head of ECMWF's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), remarked that: “Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures”.
CAN WE STILL STOP GLOBAL BOILING?
Guterres called on politicians to take prompt and resolute action. “The air is unbreathable, the heat is unbearable, and the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. Leaders must lead. No more hesitancy, no more excuses, no more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that”.
The COP28 Climate Summit marked a significant step towards fighting climate change. This year’s summit was held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December and resulted in an agreement to “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems”.
Many developing countries contend that the agreements made during COP28 fail to secure adequate funding for their shift to sustainable energy and to compensate for the financial setbacks resulting from decreased use of fossil fuels. Despite their reservations, however, all nations involved in the discussions appeared to agree to the compromises embedded in the deal.
Edited by Tatyana Kekic
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