Climate change: United States warns of worldwide 'suicide' pact, urges action

The United States is urging the rest of the world to tackle the 'test of our time' - climate change - saying if more action isn't taken, it's a worldwide 'suicide' pact. 

Mother Nature's not short on reminders that her climate is changing. 

In China, trains are being submerged by torrential rain, in India, streets are swamped, and in Siberia wildfires have destroyed 1.5 million hectares of forest. 

The US President's Envoy for Climate John Kerry was frank in a speech on Wednesday, saying the world faces an existential crisis and a lack of action from China and Russia is putting progress at risk. 

"The climate crisis, my friends, is the test of our times," Kerry said. "This test is now as acute and as existential as any previous one."

The current climate consequences are not lost on the US government.

Kerry said countries, including his own, must put politics aside for the sake of the planet. 

"It is not a mystery that China and the US have many differences, but on climate cooperation, it is the only way to break free from the world's current mutual suicide pact."

Germany's deadly floods have proved just how much changing weather patterns can destroy and displace. 

But while there's too much water there, there's not enough in Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, where a four-year-long drought is putting 1 million people at risk of famine.

Families are forced to survive off insects and cactus leaves despite their island being one of the smallest carbon emitters on the planet. 

If the temperature on earth continues to rise, future generations will pay the price - something Kerry wants to avoid. 

"I want to make sure that I'm not counted among those people who have refused to listen to the young people," he said.

In the Isles of Scilly off the UK, climate change is top of mind for coastal communities with experts predicting waters could rise one metre in the next 60 years. 

Prince Charles and Camilla paid the islands a visit, ahead of a UN climate change conference later this year as the scale of the situation grows harder to ignore.