The world's most famous naturalist has issued a dire proclamation about the state of the planet, warning Earth is facing "the collapse of everything" if we continue on our current path.
Sir David Attenborough warned overnight that climate change is the biggest security threat modern humans have ever faced while addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on climate.
The 94-year-old addressed a virtual meeting of the 15-member council on climate-related risks to international peace and security, chaired by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying it was "already too late" to stem the diabolical impacts of global warming.
"There is no going back, no matter what we do now, it's too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer," he said.
The world renowned wildlife broadcaster has long warned of the perils of man-made climate change, telling world leaders he does not envy the position they find themselves in as the global community desperately works to address the issue.
Once again, Attenborough did not mince his words.
“If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature and ocean food chains,” he said.
“And if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilisation will quickly break down."
Australia out in the cold on climate
In opening the virtual summit, the British prime minister described the threat climate change posed to global security as of "paramount importance", and said a warming planet was driving insecurity "from the communities uprooted by extreme weather and hunger, to warlords capitalising on the scramble for resources".
Johnson's conservative government has earmarked more than A$21 billion to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs and has pledged for the country to be carbon neutral by 2050.
He called for action to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change and cut global emissions to "net zero".
The US has also recommitted to tackling climate change with increased vigour under the Biden administration which is pressuring allies to do more, leaving Australia as an uncomfortable outlier due to the Morrison government's lack of commitment on emissions reduction.
Forthcoming summit 'our last, best hope'
With the world struggling to cut planet-warming emissions fast enough to avoid catastrophic warming, the United Nations will stage a climate summit in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
“It is literally our last, best hope to get on track and to get this right,” US climate envoy John Kerry told the council.
The November summit serves as a deadline for countries to commit to deeper emissions cuts. It will be the most important gathering since the 2015 event that yielded the Paris Agreement, when nearly 200 countries committed to halt rising temperatures quickly enough to avoid catastrophic change.
“I know that there are people around the world who will say that this is all kind of green stuff from a bunch of tree-hugging, tofu munchers and not suited to international diplomacy and international politics,” Johnson told the council.
“I couldn’t disagree more profoundly.”
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