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UN rights chief: Action on climate a matter of survival

BERLIN (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights official called Thursday for countries to act decisively on climate change, saying it is a “matter of survival” for humanity.

In a statement ahead of next week’s U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, the global body’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that “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.”

Bachelet urged governments taking part in the Oct. 31-Nov. 13 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 global warming will have on nature and people.

Still, the veteran diplomat tried to strike an upbeat note ahead of the summit, which brings together tens of thousands of officials, scientists and climate activists.

“I head to Glasgow as an optimist,” he said in a speech Thursday at the London School of Economics.

Kerry cited recent commitments by the Biden administration for the United States to aim for ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, similar moves by other nations and business, and a growing awareness of the urgency of tackling climate change.

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