World Risks ‘Collapse of Everything’ without Strong Climate Action, Attenborough Warns Security Council
New York (United Nations) – More collective action is needed to address the risks climate change poses to global peace and security, the UN Secretary-General told a high-level Security Council debate on Tuesday, as renowned natural historian David Attenborough warned countries that the planet faces total ‘collapse’.
Climate shocks such as record high temperatures and a “new normal” of wildfires, floods and droughts, are not only damaging the natural environment, said UN chief António Guterres, but also threatening political, economic and social stability.
“The science is clear: we need to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century,” the Secretary-General said.
“And our duty is even clearer: we need to protect the people and communities that are being hit by climate disruption. We must step up preparations for the escalating implications of the climate crisis for international peace and security.”
Heads of State and Government, as well as other senior political leaders, participated in the Council meeting, which was convened by the United Kingdom, co-host of the latest global climate change conference, known as COP26, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
The UK holds the rotating presidency of the 15-member Council this month, and renowned British naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough issued a sobering warning to leaders.
“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, adding “and if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilization will quickly break down.”
While there is no going back, Sir David stressed that if countries act fast enough, “we can reach a new stable state.” He pointed to the immense public support worldwide for climate action.
“People today all over the world now realize this is no longer an issue which will affect future generations,” he said. “It is people alive today, and, in particular, young people, who will live with the consequences of our actions.”