The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday cautioned countries to not drag their feet in battling climate change.

“The window to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis is closing fast,” he said. “...The planet has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius.”

In accordance with the 2015 Paris agreement, countries are working to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as compared to pre-industrial levels.

Greenhouse gas emissions are forecast to increase by 14% in this decade whereas ideally, the emissions should be reduced by 45% by 2030, the UN chief said.

“We are witnessing a historic and dangerous disconnect: science and citizens are demanding ambitious and transformative climate action,” he said. “Meanwhile many governments are dragging their feet. This inaction has grave consequences.”

Guterres made the remarks in a video message at a climate conference in Austria, led by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Last year, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions grew by 6%, when they should be falling, the United Nations secretary-general added.

Describing renewable energy the peace plan of the 21st century, the UN chief urged nations to stop coal usage by 2040, and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

The heatwave that scorched India and Pakistan in March and April was made 30 times more likely by climate change, according to a study published last month by an international group of scientists.

“Because of climate change, the probability of an event such as that in 2022 has increased by a factor of about 30,” the report released by the World Weather Attribution said. “The same event would have been about 1°C cooler in a preindustrial climate.”

India suffered its hottest March in 122 years since the India Meteorological Department started maintaining records. Parts of the country also experienced their highest temperatures on record in April due to a heatwave. Delhi saw the temperature soar to 49.2 degrees Celsius on May 15 as the heatwave ravaged the country.

Severe heatwaves across many wheat-producing states resulted in a dip in the production of the staple grain by 3% this year. The rise in temperatures also led to a surge in the demand for electric power.