The UK prime minister has said the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in less than 40 days must be a turning point for humanity.
In a speech to the UN general assembly in New York, Boris Johnson said:
“We are approaching that critical turning point – in less than two months – when we must show that we are capable of learning, and maturing, and finally taking responsibility for the destruction we are inflicting, not just upon our planet but ourselves.
“It is time for humanity to grow up.”
Mr Johnson said the world was not “some indestructible toy”. Every day, he said, people were doing “irreversible damage”. People continued to believe that someone else would “clear up the mess we make, because that is what someone else has always done”.
But he said the “adolescence of humanity” was coming to an end. Global temperature rise must be limited to 1.5C. Without action, there would be desertification, drought, crop failure and mass migration.
“that is why the Glasgow COP26 summit is the turning point for humanity.”
“our grandchildren will know that we are the culprits and that we were warned and they will know that it was this generation that came centre stage to speak and act on behalf of posterity and that we missed our cue and they will ask what kind of people we were to be so selfish and so short-sighted.”
He said “even in this feckless youth” the world has harnessed clean energy from wind, wave and sun, as well as nuclear and from hydrogen.
There were tools for a green industrial revolution, the prime minister said. But time was “desperately short”.
And he said the green revolution was not “just about using technical fixes for CO2”.
“we need to restore the natural balance, we need to halt and reverse the loss of trees and biodiversity by 2030, and that is why we in the UK are committed to beautifying the landscape, strengthening our protection against flooding, by planting millions more trees.
“We are awesome in our power to change things and awesome in our power to save ourselves, and in the next 40 days we must choose what kind of awesome we are going to be.”
Ruth Hayhurst will be reporting for DrillOrDrop from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.