UN, US officials urge action to avert climate disaster

Climate Germany

BERLIN (AP) — The U.N.'s top human rights official and U.S. President Joe Biden's climate envoy called Thursday for countries to step up the fight against global warming, describing it as an issue of sheer survival for humankind.

In a statement ahead of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, the global body's High Commissioner for Human Rights said “only urgent, priority action can mitigate or avert disasters that will have huge — and in some cases lethal — impacts on all of us, especially our children and grandchildren.”

Michelle Bachelet urged governments taking part in the Oct. 31-Nov. 13 climate meeting to make good on pledges of financial aid to help poor countries that are most at risk to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of global warming.

“This is a human rights obligation and a matter of survival,” she said. “Without a healthy planet to live on, there will be no human rights — and if we continue on our current path — there may be no humans.”

Her words were echoed by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, who warned of the dramatic impacts that exceeding the 2015 Paris accord's goal on global warming will have on nature and people.

“Devastating consequences follow if we exceed the 1.5 degrees (Celsius, 2.7 Fahrenheit),” he said in a speech Thursday at the London School of Economics. "And we are now already just about at 1.2 C.”