Fossil-fuel companies are the “godfathers of climate chaos” and should be banned in every country from advertising akin to restrictions on big tobacco, the secretary general of the United Nations has said while delivering dire new scientific warnings of global heating.

In a major speech in New York on Wednesday, António Guterres called on news and tech media to stop enabling “planetary destruction” by taking fossil-fuel advertising money while warning the world faces “climate crunch time” in its faltering attempts to stem the crisis.

“Many governments restrict or prohibit advertising for products that harm human health, like tobacco,” he said. “I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil-fuel companies. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil-fuel advertising.”

In his speech, Guterres announced new data from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) showing there is an 80% chance the planet will breach 1.5C (2.7F) in warming above pre-industrial times in at least one of the next five calendar years. The past 12 months have already breached this level, with the average global temperature 1.63C (2.9F) higher than the pre-industrial average from June 2023 to May this year, following a string of months with record-breaking heat, according to the European Union’s Copernicus monitoring system.

Governments agreed in the 2015 Paris climate pact to restrain the global temperatures rise to 1.5C to avoid cascading heatwaves, floods, droughts and other ruinous impacts, and while a single year beyond this limit does not mean the target has been lost, scientists widely expect this to happen in the coming decade.

According to the WMO, there is a roughly 50-50 chance that the period of 2024 to 2028 will average above 1.5C in warming, globally. “We are playing Russian roulette with our planet,” Guterres, known for his strident language on the climate crisis, told an audience underneath a suspended 94ft model of a blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. “We need an exit ramp off the highway to climate hell.”

In a nod to the venue of his speech, Guterres said that “like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, we’re having an outsized impact. In the case of climate, we are not the dinosaurs – we are the meteor. We are not only in danger – we are the danger.”

Guterres insisted that the 1.5C target was “still just about possible” but said there needed to be far greater effort from countries to slash carbon emissions, boost climate finance to poorer countries, and for the fossil-fuel industry to be made pariahs by governments, the media and other businesses for its role in causing the climate crisis.

“The godfathers of climate chaos – the fossil-fuel industry – rake in record profits and feast off trillions in taxpayer-funded subsidies,” he said. “It is a disgrace that the most vulnerable are being left stranded, struggling desperately to deal with a climate crisis they did nothing to create.

“We cannot accept a future where the rich are protected in air-conditioned bubbles, while the rest of humanity is lashed by lethal weather in unlivable lands.”

Guterres attacked fossil-fuel firms for their meagre investments in cleaner forms of energy and for “distorting the truth, deceiving the public, and sowing doubt” about climate science, before calling for government bans on fossil-fuel advertising and for public relations and media companies to cut ties with oil, gas and coal interests.

“I call on these companies to stop acting as enablers to planetary destruction. Stop taking on new fossil-fuel clients, from today, and set out plans to drop your existing ones. Fossil fuels are not only poisoning our planet – they’re toxic for your brand.”

Guterres lauded the growth in clean energy deployment, amid record levels of investment in wind, solar and other renewable sources, predicting that “economic logic makes the end of the fossil-fuel age inevitable,” but added that governments must hasten the phase-out of fossil fuels.

“It’s We the Peoples versus the polluters and the profiteers,” he said. “Together, we can win. But it’s time for leaders to decide whose side they’re on, said Guterres.