COP26: James Bond, a climate ‘death sentence’ and ‘gasping for survival’
Written by Hitmix News on 1 November 2021
The COP26 climate change summit has opened in Glasgow as world leaders, the heads of international organisations and charity bosses jetted into Scotland.
Monday’s session saw a string of world leaders take to the podium to address the conference.
Here’s what they said:
Boris Johnson – ‘The doomsday device is real’
The UK prime minister told the summit that the world was roughly in the same position as James Bond as he tries to deactivate a doomsday device in the spy films.
“The tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real,” he said.
“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.”
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PM’s ‘blah, blah, blah’ apes Thunberg
Prince Charles – ‘We know this will take trillions’
The Prince of Wales told world leaders that tackling climate change issues would need “trillions” of dollars.
He said: “My plea today is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required.
“We know this will take trillions, not billions, of dollars. We also know that countries, many of whom are burdened by growing levels of debt, simply cannot afford to ‘go green’.
“Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector.”
Joe Biden – ‘An inflection point in world history’
The US president said there were opportunities in building a “clean energy future”.
“We know that none of us can escape the worst that’s yet to come if we fail to seize this moment,” he told the conference.
“But, ladies and gentlemen, within the growing catastrophe I believe there’s an incredible opportunity, not just for the US but for all of us.
“We’re standing at an inflection point in world history.
“We have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable clean energy future, and in the process create millions of good-paying jobs and opportunities around the world.”
Narendra Modi – ‘India sticking to its pledges in spirit and letter’
India’s prime minister has set 2070 as a target for his country to reach net-zero carbon emissions, two decades after the US and at least 10 years later than China.
But he defended the target, saying India was sticking to its pledges “in spirit and letter”.
Mr Modi said his nation represents 17% of the world’s population but is responsible for “only 5% of global emissions”.
He said the goal of reaching “net zero” by 2070 was one of five measures India planned to undertake to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.
He pointed to action including increasing non-fossil fuel energy and decarbonising the Indian railway system. And he demanded developed countries makes $1trn available as climate finance “as soon as possible today”.
Image: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26
Mia Mottley – ‘We want to exist 100 years from now’
The Barbadian prime minister urged other countries to “try harder” on climate change in a bid to avoid a “death sentence” for developing nations.
“Our world, my friends, stands at a fork in the road, one no less significant than when the United Nations was formed in 1945,” she added.
“But then, the majority of our countries here did not exist – we exist now – and the difference is we want to exist 100 years from now.
“If our existence is to mean anything, then we must act in the interest of all of our people that are dependent on us.
“If we don’t, we will allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.”
Sir David Attenborough – ‘Is this how our story is due to end?’
The veteran naturalist warned humanity was “already in trouble” from burning fossil fuels, destroying nature and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
“Is this how our story is due to end – a tale of the smartest species doomed by that all too human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?,” he asked.
“Perhaps the fact that the people affected by climate change are no longer some imagined future generations but young people alive today, perhaps that will give us the impetus we need to rewrite our story, to turn this tragedy into a triumph.”
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‘I’ve witnessed a terrible decline’
Antonio Guterres – ‘We are digging our own graves’
The UN secretary general told the summit that the world’s “addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink” and warned: “We are digging our own graves.”
“Our planet is talking to us and telling us something,” he added.
“And so are people everywhere. Climate action tops the list of people’s concerns, across countries, age and gender.
“We must listen – and we must act – and we must choose wisely.
“On behalf of this and future generations, I urge you: Choose ambition. Choose solidarity. Choose to safeguard our future and save humanity.”
Wavel Ramkawlawan – ‘We are already gasping for survival’
The Seychelles president said his country was “a victim” along with other small island developing states.
“We suffer the effects and consequences of industrialisation and climate change,” he said.
“We are already gasping for survival. When I hear the expression ‘rising sea levels’ I am scared because it brings home the awareness that my country’s granitic islands will lose all the economic activity that is happening around the coast.
“And I also realise that the beautiful archipelago of 115 islands that we are today may be reduced to less than 50 as our coral islands disappear.”
Mario Draghi – ‘We need to build on the G20 agreement and act faster’
The Italian prime minister, who recently hosted the G20 summit in Rome, said the impact of climate change was already “all too evident” in weather disasters.
“Climate change can tear us apart,” he told the Glasgow summit. “Thanks to the constant cooperation and dialogue we are making good progress on addressing climate change.
“Here at the COP26 we must now go further than we did at the G20. We need to speed up our commitment to keep rising temperatures below 1.5C.
“We need to build on the G20 agreement and act faster and more decisively.”
Image: Italian PM Mario Draghi said the impact of climate change was already ‘all too evident’ in weather disasters
Justin Trudeau – ‘Ensure it is no longer free to pollute’
Canada’s prime minister urged efforts to put a price on pollution to bring down global emissions.
“Just as globally we’ve agreed to a minimum corporate tax, we must work together to ensure it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in the world,” he said.
“That means establishing a shared minimum standard for pricing pollution.
“We know pollution pricing is key to getting emissions down while getting innovation up and running.”
Angela Merkel – ”Comprehensive transformation of way we live needed’
The outgoing German chancellor called for radical change in the way people live to help with the climate.
“We will not make progress with government activities alone; what we need is a comprehensive transformation of the way we live, work and do business – and that’s why I want to make a clear plea here for carbon pricing of CO2 emissions.
“With such a pricing, which we already have in the European Union, which is being introduced in China and which has to be developed together with many others worldwide, we can get our industry, our economy, to find the technologically best and most efficient ways to get to climate neutrality.”
Image: Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is a great need for change
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