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UN chief warns humanity choosing ‘collective suicide’ through climate change inaction

This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region (SDIS 33) shows a wildfire near Landiras, southwestern France, Sunday July 17, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region (SDIS 33) shows a wildfire near Landiras, southwestern France, Sunday July 17, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warns humanity is choosing “collective suicide” with its failure to act on climate change.

He warns that the global warming limit of 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord was slipping further out of reach even as more people are being hit by extreme floods, droughts, storms and wildfires.

“Half of humanity is in the danger zone, from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction,” he says.

“We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands,” he says addressing officials from 40 countries meeting on climate change in Berlin.

Guterres, appearing by video, criticizes countries for continuing “to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future,” and urges rich nations to keep the promises they have made to the poor.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

Developing countries are still waiting for rich nations to provide $100 billion in climate aid each year, a target they were meant to reach by 2020.

“At the minimum, stop paying lip service to the $100 billion a year pledge,” Guterres says. “Give clarity through deadlines and timelines and get concrete on its delivery.”

His warnings come as a heat wave broiling Europe spilled northward today to Britain, where authorities warned of possible record temperatures, and fueled ferocious wildfires in France, which scrambled water-bombing planes and hundreds of firefighters to battle flames spreading through tinder-dry forests.

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