“This year, we have seen the terrible flooding in Kerala in India, savage wildfires in California and Canada, and dramatic warming in the Arctic that is affecting weather patterns across the northern hemisphere,” Gutteres said at the launch of the 2018 New Climate Economy report in New York.
“The trend is clear,” he said, adding that the last 19 years included 18 of the warmest years on record. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere too continued to rise, he said.
“Climate change has been proven to amplify and exacerbate other risks,” he said. “The impacts are devastating, and it is usually the poorest and the most vulnerable who are hit first and worst by storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and rising seas.”
“The impacts are devastating, and it is usually the poorest and the most vulnerable who are hit first and worst by storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and rising seas,” he added. Guterres said climate-related disasters were responsible for thousands of deaths last year and $320 billion (Rs 23,064 crore) in losses.
The climate economy report was published by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a project comprising several UN bodies and other institutions. The project found that the benefits of smarter and clearer growth are significantly underestimated, and that bold climate action could deliver $26 trillion (about Rs 1,874 lakh crore) in economic benefits through to 2030, the UN said in a statement.
Gutteres said climate change will be the top priority at the 2018 opening session of the General Assembly in order to galvanise action ahead of the 2020 meeting of the parties to the 2015 Paris Agreement.