U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has a habit of making apocalyptic pronouncements about climate change. But his latest warning, as scientists confirmed that July was set to become the Earth's hottest month on record, is impossible to ignore. "The era of global warming has ended," Guterres declared in a news briefing at the United Nations' headquarters in New York on Thursday. "The era of global boiling has arrived."
Across the world, we've seen the stark effects of what amounts to an ongoing planetary emergency. Recent heat waves scorched through North America, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. They triggered wildfires on both sides of the Mediterranean, and blazes that incinerated millions of hectares of land in Canada. A record monsoon flooded parts of north India. A spike in ocean temperatures baffled and alarmed scientists, while one recent study suggested that global warming was bringing a major circulation system in the Atlantic Ocean to collapse. Meanwhile, in the southern hemispheric winter, fewer stretches of the Antarctic sea are freezing over.