Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned world leaders that the longer they fail to tackle climate, the higher the cost when they are forced “by catastrophe” to act.
Addressing world leaders including US President Joe Biden, India’s Narendra Modi and German chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Johnson said the world was in roughly the same position as James Bond as he tries to deactivate a doomsday advice in his films.
But he said: “The tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real.
“The clock is ticking to the furious rhythm of hundreds of billions of pistons and furnaces and engines with which we are pumping carbon into the air faster and faster… and quilting the earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2, raising the temperature of the planet with a speed and abruptness that is entirely man made.”
He warned of the dangers of rising temperatures, jeopardising food supplies for hundreds of millions of people, more wildfires and eventually the loss of whole cities such as Miami, Alexandria and Shanghai.
“The longer we fail to act and the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are forced by catastrophe to act,” he said.
Coining a phrase from activist Greta Thunberg, he warned that the promises to limit global temperature rises under the Paris Agreement would be “nothing but blah blah blah” and the world’s anger would be uncontainable unless Cop26 was the moment they got real about climate change.
He warned that future generations would not forgive them if they did not act – and would be right to do so.
Channelling his hero Sir Winston Churchill, Mr Johnson said that: “While Cop26 would not be the end of climate change, it can and it must mark the beginning of the end.”
Mr Johnson took to the stage to make his speech after the delegates watched a performance by Skye piper Brighde Chaimbeul, a video narrated by Brian Cox and a poem by Yrsa Daley-Ward composed for Cop26.
Around 120 heads of state and government are attending the world leaders’ summit at the start of the Cop26 talks, where countries are under pressure to increase action in the next decade to tackle dangerous warming.
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