United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called man-made global warming the “the most systemic threat to humankind” on Thursday.
“I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge,” Guterres said, The New York Times reported.
“We know it can be hard to address problems perceived to be years or decades away. But climate impacts are already upon us,” Guterres said.
Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister, is not the first UN chief to call global warming mankind’s greatest threat. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it “the defining issue of our times.” His predecessor, Kofi Annan, said global warming was “the biggest challenge of our time.”
Guterres also said President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Paris climate accord didn’t matter since many U.S. states and cities pledged to meet the goals of the international agreement.
Trump announced last year he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accord, calling it a plan to redistribute America’s wealth to economic competitors. Trump was particularly critical of the fact China pledged to increase emissions until around 2030.
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“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” Trump said outside the White House in June 2017.
The Paris accord went into effect in 2016. The latest estimates, however, show that global carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2017, despite pledges to cut emissions.
Guterres previously served as the president of Socialist International (SI), a global network of national socialist parties seeking to establish “democratic socialism” around the world. Guterres was chosen to head the UN in 2016.