Covering Climate Now

‘Nature is angry - and nature strikes back’

This video interview originally appeared on CBS. It is republished here as part of Newsroom's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Watch the video interview with Antonio Guterres above.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is hopeful rather than desperate over global climate change because "governments always follow public opinion ... sooner or later."

Public sentiment, activist pressure, business decisions, civil society organisations' leadership and action by states and cities could help overcome inaction or resistance by national governments.

In an interview for the worldwide Covering Climate Now media project ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Guterres said three years after the Paris Agreement to limit global emissions and aim to keep temperature rise to 1.5 deg C by 2050, emissions were still increasing.

Climate effects were obvious everywhere, from drought to coral bleaching, storms to heatwaves.

"Nature is angry. And you cannot play tricks with nature. Nature strikes back. And we are seeing nature striking back," he told The Nation environment writer Mark Hertsgaard and CBS journalist Mark Phillips.

He said he was not desperate, however. "I am hopeful because I see a lot of movement in society. And I see more and more pressure being put in relation to government. If you look at the most recent poll in United States, you will see that the-- overwhelming majority of American cities now consider climate change to be a serious threat and consider the government need to act in addition to that."

Asked if the Trump administration's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement had encouraged other nations to give up, Guterres said "No. Countries understand they cannot wait for their neighbour. Nobody is able to escape."

World leaders gather at the UN next Monday (US time) at Guterres' invitation to outline action plans to help meet the Paris targets. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be the first world leader to speak in the opening session and will also address a lunch hosted by Guterres.

Watch the video interview with Guterres above.

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