Humanity is facing a new war, unprecedented in history, the Secretary General of the United Nations has warned. The stark message from António Guterres follows a year of global upheaval, with the coronavirus pandemic causing governments to shut down whole countries for months at a time, while wildfires, hurricanes and powerful storms have scarred the globe.
"To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken. Dear friends, humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back and it is already doing so with growing force and fury," Guterres said.
Guterres said "biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes. Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help to solve it".
The Earth continued to endure a period of significant heating in 2020 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Its provisional assessment suggests this year will be one of the three hottest, just behind 2016 and 2019.
The warmest six years in global records dating back to 1850 have now all occurred since 2015. The most notable warmth was in the Siberian Arctic, where temperatures were 5C above average.