Boris Johnson has opened a global climate summit, saying the world is strapped to a “doomsday device.”
Johnson likened the Earth’s position to that of fictional secret agent James Bond — strapped to a bomb that will destroy the planet and trying to work out how to defuse it.
He told leaders Monday that “we are in roughly the same position” — only now the “ticking doomsday device” is real and not fiction.
He was kicking off the world leaders’ summit portion of a U.N. climate conference, which is aimed at getting agreement to curb carbon emissions fast enough to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius below pre–industrial levels.
Johnson called on his fellow leaders to “act now” on climate change as we are running out of time and said that he wants countries to end the use of coal, phase out petrol-powered cars, and reverse deforestation
He added that the developed world must “recognise the special responsibility we have to help everybody else” to make the move to greener economies.
Speaking after him David Attenborough said that the future of young people should provide impetus to “turn tragedy into triumph”
If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it. In my lifetime I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours you could – and should – see a wonderful recovery.
Addressing leaders at the first major global gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic, COP President Alok Sharma said: “The science is clear that the window of time we have to keep the goal of 1.5℃ alive , and to avoid the worst effects of climate change, is closing fast. But with political will and commitment, we can, and must, deliver an outcome in Glasgow the world can be proud of.”
Leaders were also addressed by poet Yrsa Daley-Ward, whose specially commissioned poem Earth to COP includes the lines: “Anything less than your best is too much to pay. Anything later than now, too little, too late. Nothing will change without you.”
And campaigner, Kenyan environment and climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti who said: “We need you to respond with courage to the climate and ecological crisis…for these next two weeks – which are so critical for the children, for our species, for so many other living beings – let us step into our hearts.”