British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told world leaders at the United Nations that humanity must “grow up” and fight climate change, saying humans must stop trashing the planet like a teenager on a bender.
Mr Johnson is due to host a major UN climate summit in Scotland in six weeks and is using a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to lobby governments for more emission reduction targets strict and more money to help poor countries to clean up their economies.
In a speech on Wednesday (local time), he said it was now or never if the world was to meet its goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“If we continue on the current track, temperatures will rise 2.7 degrees or more by the end of the century. And whatever that does to the ice floes, ”Mr Johnson said.
“We will see desertification, drought, crop failures and mass movements of humanity on a scale never seen before.
“Not because of some natural event or unforeseen disaster, but because of us. Because of what we are doing now.
Mr Johnson compared humanity to a brash 16-year-old – “just old enough to get in serious trouble”.
“We’ve come to that fateful age where we pretty much know how to drive and we know how to unlock the beverage closet and engage in all kinds of activities that are not only potentially embarrassing but also terminal,” he said.
“We think someone else is going to clean up the mess we make because that’s what someone else has always done.
“We’re destroying our habitats over and over again with the inductive reasoning we’ve gotten out of it so far, and so we’ll get away with it again.”
“My friends, humanity’s adolescence is drawing to a close. We must come together in a collective maturity.
Hopes for a successful Glasgow summit have been bolstered by announcements this week from the world’s two largest economies and biggest carbon polluters, the United States and China.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping says his country will no longer finance coal-fired power plants abroad, while US President Joe Biden announced a plan to double financial aid for green growth to poorer countries to $ 11.4 billion (AU $ 15.7 billion) by 2024.
Britain has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and Mr Johnson has championed the expansion of renewables, saying Britain could become ‘Saudi Arabia of the wind “.
But he is under fire from environmentalists for not scrapping new North Sea oil drilling and a proposed new coal mine in north-west England.