Climate Change Gathers Devastating Force: António Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday that the world continues to witness Climate Change gather force.

He expressed solidarity with all those suffering the devastating impacts of the unprecedented events seen in recent weeks –from Texas to Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sierra Leone.

“The United Nations stands ready to support relief efforts in any way possible,” he said, noting that the number of natural disasters has nearly quadrupled since 1970, with the US, followed by China and India experiencing the most since 1995.


What Is Climate Change?

Climate Change refers to the change in the distribution of weather patterns over a period of time – usually measured over decades to thousands of years. Climate Change is caused by natural factors as well as human activities.

Natural factors such as variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions contribute to the change in global weather conditions. The human activities that cause Climate Change are referred to as ‘global warming’. In the modern environment science, the term ‘global warming’ is interchangeably used with Climate Change.

The main cause of global warming or the human-led Climate Change is environmental pollution which contaminates the atmosphere with pollutants such as chemicals and energies. Pollution, therefore, has become a major factor that is causing ‘global warming’ or Climate Change.

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As compared to the perils of environmental pollution that affect human health, the Climate Change brings mass destruction with floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Climate Change, which is an emerging subject in the global debate on environment, has assumed greater significance after 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change or Paris Climate Agreement.

It is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that aims to deal with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation and overall environment protection, starting in the year 2020. As of August 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the Agreement and out of them 160 have ratified it.

By Rakesh Raman


Last year alone, according to the UN, 24.2 million people were displaced by sudden-onset disasters – three times as many as by conflict and violence. Even before the current floods, preliminary reports for this year show that there have been 2,087 deaths from natural disasters.

It is true that scientists caution us about linking any single weather event with Climate Change. But they are equally clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world, the UN reports.

“With science forecasting a dramatic rise in both the frequency and severity of disasters, it is time to get serious about keeping ambition high on climate action – and on building resilience and reducing disaster risk,” Mr. Guterres said.

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