Leaders to UN: If virus doesn't kill us, climate change will

AP

In a year of cataclysm, some world leaders at this week’s annual United Nations meeting are taking the long view, warning: If COVID-19 doesn't kill us, climate change will.

With Siberia seeing its warmest temperature on record this year and enormous chunks of ice caps in Greenland and Canada sliding into the sea, countries are acutely aware there's no vaccine for global warming.

"We are already seeing a version of environmental Armageddon," Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said, citing wildfires in the western U.S. and noting that the Greenland ice chunk was larger than a number of island nations.

This was meant to be the year "we took back our planet," he said. Instead, the coronavirus has diverted resources and attention from what could have been the marquee issue at this U.N. gathering. Meanwhile, the U.N. global climate summit has been postponed to late 2021.

That hasn’t stopped countries, from slowly sinking island nations to parched African ones, from speaking out.

"In another 75 years, many ... members may no longer hold seats at the United Nations if the world continues on its present course," the Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Countries Group said.