“We are digging our own graves,” said UN chief Antonio Guterres. “Our planet is changing before our eyes — from the ocean depths to mountaintops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened a global climate summit Monday, saying the world is strapped to a “doomsday device.”
Johnson likened an ever-warming 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 that “we are in roughly the same position” — only now the “ticking doomsday device” is not fiction. The threat is climate change, triggered by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, and he pointed out that it all started in Glasgow with James Watt’s steam engine powered by coal.
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 (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) below pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit). Current projections based on planned emissions cuts over the next decade are for it to hit 2.7C (4.9F) by the year 2100.
Johnson told the summit that humanity had run down the clock when it comes to climate change, and the time for action is now. He pointed out that the more than 130 world leaders who gathered had an average age of over 60, while the generations most harmed by climate change aren’t yet born.
Johnson called for the end of coal-fired power plants and gasoline-powered cars along with a huge influx of cash from rich nations to poor to help them switch to greener economies and adapt to the worsening climate impacts.
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