UNITED KINGDOM: Ahead of the U.K. hosting the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, PM Boris Johnson in a speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, addressed the climate summit as the “turning point for humanity.”
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, the PM warned that global temperature rises were already inevitable, but called on his fellow leaders to commit to major changes to curb further warming.
Setting the tone for November’s Climate Change Conference — known as COP26, he said countries must make “substantial changes” by the end of the decade if the world is to stave off further temperature rises.
“I passionately believe that we can do it by making commitments in four areas – coal, cars, cash and trees,” he said.
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Johnson, a last-minute addition to the speakers’ list that day, slammed the world’s inadequate response to the climate crisis and urged humanity to “listen to the warnings of the scientists,” pointing to the Covid-19 pandemic as “an example of gloomy scientists being proved right.”
“We still cling with parts of our minds to the infantile belief that the world was made for our gratification and pleasure,” he said. “And we combine this narcissism with an assumption of our own immortality.”
“We believe that someone else will clear up the mess, because that is what someone else has always done,” he added. “We trash our habitats, again and again, with the inductive reasoning that we’ve gotten away with it so far, and therefore, we’ll get away with it again.
“My friends, the adolescence of humanity is coming to an end and must come to an end.”
The prime minister reiterated that it’s already “too late” to stop the rise in global temperatures, but the world can still “restrain that growth” to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the stricter of the two targets set by the UN in the 2015 Paris agreement.
The World Meteorological Organization predicts we now have a roughly 40% chance of reaching the 1.5-degree marker — even if temporarily — within the next five years.