Humanity Waging ‘Suicidal War’ on Nature, UN Chief Warns

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns that humanity is waging a “suicidal war” on nature, citing man-made damages on the natural world and reports on climate change.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns that humanity is waging a “suicidal war” on nature, citing man-made damages on the natural world and reports on climate change.

“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 in a virtual address titled “The State of the Planet” at Columbia University in New York on Dec. 2.

Guterres said that the state of the planet is “broken” as humanity faces “a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development.”

“Human activities are at the root of our descent towards chaos,” Guterres said after enumerating man-made environmental disasters, including loss of 10 million hectares of forests, increase of greenhouse gas emissions by 62%, and the emergence of new human infectious diseases from animals like COVID-19.

According to two reports from the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme published on Dec. 2, which Guterres cited in his speech, 2020 is set to be one of the three warmest years on record globally while the past decade was the hottest in human history.

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere,” Guterres said, calling for countries to put a price on carbon emissions and to stop building new coal power plants, among other demands.


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