Famous wildlife broadcaster David Attenborough warned on Tuesday that climate change is the biggest security threat that modern society has have ever faced, telling the United Nations (UN) Security Council: “I don’t envy you, the responsibility that this places on all of you.”
The 94-year-old Attenborough was part of a virtual meeting on climate-related risks to international peace and security, chaired by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“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,” Attenborough said.
“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,” he added.
The UN will organize a climate summit in November in Scotland. It will be the most important gathering since the 2015 event that resulted in the Paris Agreement; nearly 200 countries committed to stop rising temperatures quickly enough to avoid catastrophic change.
The November summit serves as a deadline for countries to commit to deeper emissions cuts. So far, governments are struggling to cut planet-warming emissions fast enough to avoid catastrophic warming.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres pushed countries, companies, cities and financial institutions to make ambitious commitments to cut global emissions. China and the United States are the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
“We still have a long way to go, and we look to the major emitters to lead by example in the coming months,” Guterres told the council. “This is a credibility test of their commitment to people and planet.”