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Attenborough, 94, the world's most influential wildlife broadcaster, 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.
"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.
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 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.
BORIS JOHNSON: I'm going to hand over now to Sir David Attenborough.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: We are today perilously close to tipping points that, once passed, will send global temperatures spiraling catastrophically higher. 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. 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.
Please make no mistake, climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced. I don't envy you the responsibility that this places on all of you and your governments. We have left the stable and secure climatic period that gave birth to our civilizations. There is no going back. No matter what we do now, it's too late to avoid climate change. And the poorest and most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer.