He noted 16 million people displaced by weather-related disasters each year, some fall prey to violent extremists, farmers lose another wheat crop due to drought and switch to opium poppies, and girls are forced to drop out of school for seeking water by falling prey to human traffickers. He also cited the effects of changing sea levels and fires.
Like it or not, it is a matter of when, not if, your country and your people will have to deal with these climate change security impacts, he warned leaders at a Security Council summit on the dangers that related to the climate for international peace and security.
Presiding over the meeting of the most powerful UN body during the UK presidency this month, Johnson urged the council to demonstrate leadership to defend global peace, security and stability.
John Kerry, the US special envoy for the US climate, thanked the European nations for speeding up the fight against climate change during the United States’ unforgivable absence during the previous administration. Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the historic 2015 Paris climate deal aimed at preventing global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by curbing greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming.
Kerry said President Joe Biden knows there is not an hour to waste and his administration intends to put the United States on a path to reducing fossil fuel emissions in a way that is irreversibly irreversible by any president or any demagogue of the future.
This seems to be one of the clearest assurances from the Biden administration that foreign countries should go ahead and make deals with the climate administration, despite fears that Trump or one of his populist First American supporters will take back to power in 2024.
Kerry unequivocally called the climate crisis a Security Council issue, saying the Pentagon has described it as a threat multiplier. But even though climate change has been repeatedly called an existential threat, he said, we still have no response to the urgency required.
He called the UN climate conference Britain is hosting in Glasgow in November, our last best hope to get on track and get it right. Nations are expected to come to the conference with more ambitious pollution cuts.
Saying he was very happy to see the United States back on the table, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that a climate failure would undermine efforts to prevent conflict and consolidate peace.
He called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a UN climate security envoy, who will be required to report annually, saying that what is at stake is our health, our lives and the stability of our planet.
China’s special envoy for climate change, Xie Zhenhua, echoed that climate change has become an urgent and serious threat to the survival, development and security of mankind.
The country met its 2020 target ahead of schedule, Xie said, adding that China now has the largest number of new energy vehicles in the world.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stressed the impact of climate and security in Africa, which he unfortunately complained about would suffer the worst consequences of climate change despite being less responsible for global greenhouse gases.
He said the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, the drying up of Lake Chad basin, the shrinking of the Sahel and savannah pastures and the worsening economic weakness have set in motion political, demographic, migratory dynamics that increase the threat of insurgency and violent extremism.
Secretary-General Guterres said much more needed to be done and called for greater focus on achieving Paris’s goals, saying we look forward to leading broadcasters by example in the coming months.
The UN chief called for a dramatic increase in investment to protect countries, communities and people from the increasingly frequent and severe effects of climate change, an escalation of early warning systems and addressing poverty, food shortages and displacement caused by climate disruptions that contribute to conflict
Renowned British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, in a video message played shortly before Johnson officially opened the meeting, warned that if we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that brings us security including temperatures good, water, habitable and food from the oceans.
We have left the stable and safe climatic period that gave birth to our civilization, he said. There is no turning back.
But Attenborough said if we act fast enough we can achieve a new stable state and the UN conference in November could be our last chance to take that reversible step.
Ellen Knickmeyer and Seth Borenstein in Washington and Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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