KOCHI: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his speech at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday night, attributed the floods in Kerala to climate change. He called for a new “climate leadership”, stating natural disasters are occurring around the world with increasing frequency despite scientists warning us for decades.
“Last month, the state of Kerala in India suffered its worst monsoon flooding in the recent history, killing 400 people and driving 1 million more from their homes. We know that Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people in Puerto Rico last year, making it one of the deadliest extreme weather conditions in US history...What makes all of this even more disturbing is that we were warned,” he said.
“Scientists have been telling us for decades. Over and over again. Far too few have acted with the vision that science demands. We see the results. In some situations, they are approaching scientists’ worst-case scenarios,” he said.
Reminding the people of the accelerating impacts of climate change that are already visible today, including extreme heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods, Guterres said: “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us”.
Guterres also spoke of the potential of clean technology to reduce climate change, which is meanwhile competitive with — and even cheaper — than coal and oil especially if one factors in the cost of pollution.