Blog: Can naming our present times the era of “global boiling” save humanity?

The wild fires raging in southern Europe terrified all who came in contact with them. Islands in Greece caught fire and burnt – Rhodes being one of the most famous. Alongside the fires are the unusually warm marine temperatures for this time of year, causing an ocean heatwave. All these features add up to July being the hottest month in the world on record. Recent research in the magazine Nature suggests that the Gulf stream system, known to scientists as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc) is getting far weaker and may even collapse by 2025.

UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres makes clear that such dire effects in the world today, impacts most the poorest nations in the world – who have least caused the emissions – calls for urgent action now. And yet, carbon emissions  continue to rise. Just this week, the UK government announces plans to licence more gas and oil exploration.

How can the science of what is happening become more meaningful for individuals, policy makers and governments? Journalist Jonathon Freedland suggests a clearer and simpler PR message is needed and it needs to be repeated again and again. Perhaps the United Nations General Secretary as found the solution.

Antonio Guterres said this week that “Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just beginning.” Guterres continued:

“The era of global warming has ended: the era of global boiling has arrived.”

Can the era of global boiling alert humanity to the very urgent need to cut carbon emissions right now, in order to stand any chance of keeping the world to 1.5 degrees of warming?   Can such a straightforward metaphor cut through the divisions between people caused by those wanting to create strife and uncertainty? Whatever the outcome, using the term ‘global boiling’ everytime is speaking truth to power.

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