Climate change: Boris Johnson's attempt to spur the world to action was just what it needed to hear – Scotsman comment

37 days to Cop26: It was a speech that was positively Johnsonian, complete with an extended metaphor about humanity’s coming of age, a Kermit the frog joke, another about changing his first name to “Boreas” in honour of the North Wind, and a touch of classical wisdom from Sophocles.

Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up as he speaks to the 76th session UN General Assembly about climate change (Picture: Eduardo Munoz/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

But Boris Johnson’s address to the United Nations may have surprised some of his supporters, given his previous admitted scepticism about its subject, climate change.

His central theme was far more serious than the witticisms deployed to lighten the mood – the need to take real and urgent action to cut carbon emissions and prevent global warming from going above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Boris Johnson makes call for ‘humanity to grow up’ and address climate problems

He described the UN’s Cop26 climate summit, to be held in little over a month’s time in Glasgow, as a “critical turning point” in the history of humanity and urged the assembled nations to abandon the “infantile belief that the world was made for our gratification” and the “assumption of our own immortality”.

“We trash our habitats again and again with the inductive reasoning that we have got away with it so far, and therefore we will get away with it again. It is time for us to listen to the warnings of the scientists...” he said. "The world – this precious blue sphere with its eggshell crust and wisp of an atmosphere – is not some indestructible toy.”

It was, Johnson concluded, time to “blow out the candles of a world on fire”.

We could not have said it better ourselves, and our jokes would probably have been worse.

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