Stark Words, Stark Warning at the U.N.

President Biden speaks to the United Nations of pressing national and global challenges faced by today’s generation. Our “intergenerational” responsibility begins to be recognized, acknowledged and acted upon


September 21, 2021

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly as president, President Joe Biden called for collective action and said the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other threats present world leaders with a stark choice at “the dawning of what must be a decisive decade for our world.

“We’re challenged by urgent and looming crises, wherein lie enormous opportunities, if we can summon the will and resolve to seize these opportunities,” Biden said.’

Biden addressed protecting the rights of women, nuclear disarmament, expanding individual liberty, and reducing global hunger, casting the U.S. as focused on diplomacy and partnerships.

“We are not seeking a new cold war, or a world divided into rigid blocs,” Biden said. “The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to shared challenges, even if we have intense disagreement in other areas, because we’ll all suffer the consequences of our failure.”

On climate change, his words drew a stark contrast to the climate change denial of the former U.S. president.  Biden put the global threat to security in blunt terms: “the scientists and experts are telling us we are fast approaching a point of no return.”

Biden’s words about “approaching a point of no return” reflects the broad concern that the world is unlikely to be able to keep global warming to within the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement.”



Read the ‘Point of No Return’ Report


If the Paris Agreement targets are to be met, there may be very few years left for policy makers to start cutting emissions. Here we calculate by what year, at the latest, one has to take action to keep global warming below the 2 K target (relative to pre-industrial levels) at the year 2100 with a 67 % probability; we call this the point of no return (PNR).

In the landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released Aug. 9, 234 authors relying on more than 14,000 studies stated that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.