British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told UN world leaders on Wednesday night that humanity must “grow up” and tackle climate change, saying people must stop throwing the planet like a teenager on a bender.
Johnson will host a major UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in six weeks. He uses a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to pressure governments on tougher emission reduction targets and more money to help poor countries clean up their economies.
In a speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday, he said that it is now or never whether the world will reach its goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
“If we continue on the current track, the temperature will rise by 2.7 degrees or more by the end of the century. And think about what it will do with the ice floes, “Johnson said. We will see desertification, drought, failure and mass movements of humanity on a scale never seen before. Not because of any unforeseen natural event or disaster, but because of us, because of what we are doing now. “
In his speech, Johnson compared humanity to a cool 16-year-old – “just old enough to get us into serious trouble.”
“We have reached the fateful age when we roughly know how to drive and we know how to unlock the liquor cabinet and engage in all sorts of activities that are not only potentially embarrassing but also terminal,” he said.
“We believe that someone else will clean up the mess we are doing, because that is what someone else has always done,” he added. “We throw away our habitats over and over again with the inductive reasoning that we have gotten away with it so far, and therefore we will get away with it again.
“My friends, the youth of humanity is coming to an end,” Johnson said, adding, “We must come together in a collective aging.”
Hopes for a successful summit in Glasgow have been bolstered by announcements this week from the world’s two largest economies and major carbon pollutants, the United States and China. Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country would no longer fund coal-fired power plants abroad, while US President Joe Biden announced a plan to double financial support for green growth to poorer countries to $ 11.4 billion (€ 9.7 billion). ) in 2024.
Britain has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero net by 2050, and Johnson has fought for the development of renewable energy, saying Britain can become the wind of Saudi Arabia. But he is under fire from environmental activists because he has not scrapped new oil drilling in the North Sea and a proposed new coal mine in northwest England.