The United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG), António Guterres, warned, on November 27, of the profoundly shocking speed of melting ice in Antarctica following his recent visit to the region to inspect the gravity of the situation.
During a press briefing, the United Nations (UN) official stated that recent data shows that the South Pole’s sea ice cover is currently 1.5 million square kilometers less than usual for this time of year, adding that this number equals “the combined surface area of Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany combined”.
“What happens in Antarctica, does not stay in Antarctica,” stated the UN official, stressing that the world is interconnected since “melting sea ice means rising seas, and that directly endangers lives and livelihoods in coastal communities across the globe”.
The Secretary-General also underlined that rising sea levels do not only contribute to the impact of floods and saltwater on food but also endanger small islands and coastal cities across the world.
“The movement of waters around Antarctica distributes heat, nutrients, and carbon around the world, helping to regulate our climate and regional weather patterns,” emphasized the UN official, noting that the system is continuously deteriorating as the southern Ocean becomes warmer and less dense.
Emphasizing the implication the speed of melting ice in Antarctica has on the global scale, Guterres underlined that further aggravation of the situation would be a recipe for disaster.
The UN official also recalled that fossil fuel pollution is the main cause in the acceleration of climate change consequences, as it coats the Earth and heats the planet, underlining that “leaders must act to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, protect people from climate chaos, and end the fossil fuel age.”
Guterres also called on leaders and participants in the COP28, scheduled to kick off on November 30 in Dubai, to work towards mitigating the consequences of climate change.
“We need a clear and credible commitment to phase out fossil fuels on a time frame that aligns with the 1.5-degree limit, and we need climate justice, setting the world up for a huge increase in investment and adaptation and loss and damage to protect people from climate extremes,” stressed the UN official.
Guterres concluded that leaders must not let the hopes of people around the world for a sustainable planet “melt away” and should leverage COP28.
Our climate is changing around us faster than predicted. From more frequent and extreme storms to unprecedented heatwaves, we are witnessing the impacts of human-caused global warming.
Climate change is not a problem that governments can solve alone, as it necessitates collaboration across regional governments, businesses, and communities.
Together, we can contribute to the fight against climate change. Every individual action adds to our collective strength for positive change towards a sustainable world. Regardless of how small or big they are, our initiatives will make a difference and help create a better world for future generations.