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In visit to Antarctica, Guterres appeals for action to end ‘climate anarchy’

António Guterres is in Antarctica this week, where he saw first-hand how climate change is impacting the world’s southernmost continent, which is mostly covered in ice.

The heat is on

“Fossil fuel pollution is heating our planet, unleashing climate anarchy in Antarctica,” said Mr. Guterres, adding that the Southern Ocean has taken the majority of the heat from global warming.

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“That means ice is melting into the ocean at record rates. Melting ice means sea levels rising at record rates,” he explained.

“That directly endangers the lives and livelihoods of people in coastal communities across the globe. It means homes are no longer insurable. And it threatens the very existence of some small island States.” 

Unleashing catastrophe worldwide

Antarctic sea ice is at an all-time low.  New figures show that this September, it was 1.5 million square kilometers smaller than the average for the time of year – “an area roughly the size of Portugal, Spain, France and Germany combined.”

Mr. Guterres noted that the Greenland ice sheet is also melting fast, losing over 250 gigatons of ice every year.

“All of this spells catastrophe around the world. What happens in Antarctica doesn’t stay in Antarctica. And what happens thousands of miles away has a direct impact right here,” he said.

Limit temperature rise

The Secretary-General appealed for world leaders attending the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai next week to act now to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He also urged them to protect people from climate chaos, and end the fossil fuel age, saying “we must not let all hopes for a sustainable planet melt away.’

The UN chief will visit the Professor Julio Escudero research base on Saturday where he will be briefed by scientists.. 

 

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