Climate change: UN chief calls global warming a 'disaster' after July to be hottest month ever recorded

The planet is no longer just warming, the "era of global boiling has arrived".

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has declared it official, July is set to be the hottest month on record.

This month the average for the entire planet is already 16.95C, which means the record is broken, even though July still has days to run.

Scientists believe July is likely the warmest month in 120,000 years. The last time it was that warm was the Eemian period when hippopotamuses roamed as far north as the River Thames.

Right now, the world is sweltering. The planet is hot, it's flooding, and in some places, it's even on fire.

On Friday, Guterres described the dire situation, like this: "The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived."

His comments came as it was confirmed that July will be the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, and the coming years are going to be hotter.

Experts say that we have no one to blame but ourselves.

"For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists it is unequivocal. Humans are to blame," Guterres said.

While Aotearoa's temperatures are barely in the low teens, the Northern Hemisphere is boiling.

This week Tunisia's capital reached a scorching 50C. Kuwait recorded 48C, Palmero in Sicily a touch over 47C, and Phoenix in the US recorded 46C in recent days.

Cactus plants in Phoenix, considered the hardiest in a drought, are dying. The heat has caused them to lose their arms and collapse.

North America has been baking under a heat dome for months, and 170 million people are under heat alerts.

On Friday President Joe Biden announced financial relief to help communities dealing with the heat.

"There used to be a long time ago... when I first got here and people said, 'nah it's not a problem'. Well, I don't know anybody, well I shouldn't say that. I don't know anybody who honestly believes climate change is not a serious problem."

A problem that's seeing hospitals in the country's northeast prepare for patients with heat-related illnesses.

Washington is expected to hit 37C for the first time in seven years this week, and New York really does feel like a scorching concrete jungle.

Right now in New York, the city's 8.5 million residents are under an excessive heat warning.

With so many people using air conditioning the city's power company has appealed to people to cut back on power usage, so the network doesn't fail.

"This is not our first heat wave, and with climate change accelerating, it won't be our last," said New York Mayor Eric Adams.

As the World Meteorological Organisation has said, "climate action is no longer a luxury - it's a must".