UNGA: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says world must ‘grow’ and deal with climate change


Johnson, a last-minute addition to the list of speakers that day, criticized the world’s inadequate response to the climate crisis and urged humanity to “heed the warnings of scientists”, citing the Covid-19 pandemic as “an example of dark scientists are right.”

“We still hold on with some parts of our minds to the infantile belief that the world was made for our satisfaction and our enjoyment,” he said. “And we combine this narcissism with an assumption of our own immortality.”

“We think someone else is going to fix the problem, because that’s what someone else has always done,” he added. “We are destroying our habitats, over and over again, with the inductive reasoning that we have gotten away with so far, and as a result, we will get away with it again.

“My friends, humanity’s adolescence is coming to an end and must come to an end.”

Johnson pointed out that the United Nations Climate Change Conference – known as COP26 – in Glasgow in November as a “turning point for humanity”.

World leaders must arrive in Scotland ready to make the necessary commitments, he said. It is already “too late” to stop rising global temperatures, but the world can still “hold back this growth” at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The 1.5 degree marker has been identified by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a key tipping point beyond which the risk of extreme drought, forest fires, flooding and food shortages will increase dramatically. The World Meteorological Organization predicts that we now have about a 40% chance of reaching this level – even temporarily – within the next five years.

To avoid crossing that threshold, “we must collectively commit to achieving carbon neutrality, net zero, by mid-century,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “We need all countries, all of you, to commit to very substantial reductions by 2030.”

Xi Jinping vows to halt new overseas coal projects amid climate crisis

The prime minister on Monday held a closed-door meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and other world leaders to urge countries to pledge funds to help developing countries move away from fossil fuels.

Climate has been a key pillar of the conference so far, and it seems Johnson’s call has resonated with other world leaders concerned about the climate crisis. In a speech to the UNGA on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would double its financial commitment to help developing countries tackle the climate crisis.

In a meeting with Biden on Tuesday, Johnson hailed the US president’s speech as “the most important thing today.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping also pledged to stop building coal projects abroad and increase financial support for green and low-carbon energy projects in other developing countries.


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