Sir David Attenborough warned world leaders that if we continue to carry on as we are, we risk the collapse of “everything”.

He said at the 15-member Council this month: “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to freshwater, 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,” he added.

“People today all over the world now realize this is no longer an issue which will affect future generations,” he said.  “It is people alive today, and, in particular, young people, who will live with the consequences of our actions.”

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told the council: “It is literally our last, best hope to get on track and to get this right.”

Russia and China asked whether the Security Council was the right place to be discussing climate change. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “We agree that climate change and environmental issues can exacerbate conflict. But are they really the root cause of these conflicts? There are serious doubts about this.”