Citing the shattering of temperature records in New Delhi,UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the world is in "the raceof our lives and for our lives" to avoid a climate change catastrophe.
"If we do not take action on climate change now, theseextreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg," he said onThursday at a news briefing. "And that iceberg is also rapidlymelting."
According to the World Meteorological Organisation, NewDelhi broke the July heat record with 48 degrees Centigrade and the month"has re-written climate history books as record heatwaves have been seenacross the globe". Record temperatures were recorded in several placesaround the world.
Guterres said: "July at least equalled if not surpassedthe hottest month in recorded history. This follows the hottest June ever.
"All of this means we are on track for the period from2015 to 2019 to be the five hottest years.
"Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the raceof our lives and for our lives. It is a race we can, and must, win."
For this, the Secretary-General said he was convening theClimate Action Summit, in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expectedto participate.
Guterres said that he had told the leaders from governments,businesses and civil society not to come with "beautiful speeches",but with concrete plans to enhance nationally determined contributions toreducing carbon emission by 2020 and strategies for carbon neutrality – removingan equivalent amount of carbon dioxide for any emitted – by 2050.
Guterres said: "The world's leading scientists tell uswe must limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Centigrade if we are toavoid the worst impacts of climate change. We need to cut greenhouse emissionsby 45 per cent by 2030. We need carbon neutrality by 2050."
However, he also said there were optimistic developments inbattling climate change.
Because of technological developments, solar and onshorewind are now the cheapest sources of new power in virtually all majoreconomies, he said.
Businesses are also taking the lead in dealing with climatechange, he said.
"Leading businesses around the world are alsorecognizing that moving early from the grey to the green economy will delivercompetitive advantages, while delaying will lead to huge losses."
Asset managers representing nearly half the world's investedcapital – some $34 trillion – "demanding urgent climate action, calling onglobal leaders to 'phase out fossil fuel subsidies and thermal coal powerworldwide,' and 'put a meaningful price on carbon'", he said.
Businesses with a combined value of more than $1.3 trillionare on board with the UN Global Compact to limit global temperature rise to 1.5degrees Centigrade, Guterres added.