UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world's efforts to stop climate change have been utterly inadequate so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the point of no return.
Speaking before the start of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, the UN chief said the impact of rising temperatures including more extreme weather is already being felt around the world, with dramatic consequences for humans and other species.
He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but what is lacking is political will. The point of no return is no longer over the horizon, Guterres told reporters in the Spanish capital.
It is in sight and hurtling toward us.
Delegates from almost 200 countries will try to put the finishing touches on the rules governing the 2015 Paris climate accord at the Dec 2-13 meeting, including how to create functioning international emissions trading systems and compensate poor countries for losses they suffer from rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.
Guterres cited mounting scientific evidence for the impact that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are already having on the planet, including record temperatures and melting polar ice.