BoJo's UNGA Speech: PM Talks Climate Change, Argues Kermit the Frog Was 'Wrong'

© REUTERS / EDUARDO MUNOZBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.09.2021
Speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly earlier this week, world leaders, including the presidents of the US, China, and Iran, mainly touched upon the pressing issues their counties currently face.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address to a UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York was completely focused on climate change-related issues as he urged world leaders to "recognise the scale of the challenge" and claimed the Muppets character Kermit the Frog was wrong when he sang: "It's not easy being green".
Referring to an upcoming climate summit in Glasgow, Johnson described the forthcoming gathering as "the turning point for humanity", stressing the need to limit a global increase in temperatures to 1.5C. The 12-day UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is due to open on 1 November.

"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", the prime minister said.

He called our shared planet a "precious blue sphere with its eggshell crust and wisp of an atmosphere", saying it is "not some indestructible toy, some bouncy plastic romper room against which we can hurl ourselves to our heart's content".
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The prime minister bemoaned the fact that "daily, weekly, we [people] are doing such irreversible damage that long before a million years are up, we will have made this beautiful planet effectively uninhabitable - not just for us but for many other species".

"We believe that someone else will clear up the mess we make, because that is what someone else has always done. 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", he said.

Johnson described humanity as "collectively a youngster" when it comes to Earth's history, insisting that "the adolescence of humanity is coming to an end". He called on world leaders "to come together in a collective coming of age".
The British PM underlined that nations must make "substantial changes" by the end of the decade to contain a further rise in temperatures.
"I passionately believe that we can do it by making commitments in four areas - coal, cars, cash, and trees", he said, praising Chinese President Xi Jinping for ending Beijing's international financing of coal.
Johnson also underscored the importance of reaching the target of slashing global heating to within 1.5 degrees during the forthcoming COP26 summit.

"We are not talking about stopping the rise in temperatures – it is alas too late for that – but to restrain that growth to 1.5 degrees. And that means we need to pledge collectively to achieve carbon neutrality – net zero – by the middle of the century. And that will be an amazing moment if we can do it", he said.

The prime minister expressed hope that COP26 "will be a 16th birthday for humanity in which we choose to grow up, to recognise the scale of the challenge we face, to do what posterity demands we must". He invited world leaders to attend the November summit in order "to celebrate what I hope will be a coming of age and to blow out the candles of a world on fire".
Johnson additionally outlined a number of tasks that should be resolved as part of global efforts to fight climate change, including allowing only zero-emission vehicles to be on sale across the globe by 2040.
According to him, every country should cut carbon emissions by 68% and nations ought to vow collectively to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of this century.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, speaks to reporters after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for climate change discussions during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, at United Nations headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.09.2021
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The British PM's last point dealt with phasing out the use of coal in the developing world by 2040 and in the developed world by 2030.
At one point during the UNGA address, Johnson referred to the Muppets character Kermit the Frog singing a song about it "not easy being green".

"When Kermit the Frog sang it's not easy being green - remember that one? I want you to know he was wrong - and he was also unnecessarily rude to Miss Piggy. We have the technology: we have the choice before us", the PM said.

His UNGA speech followed Johnson unveiling the government's plan to implement a "green industrial revolution" in the UK in mid-November 2020, when he said that his "ten-point plan will create, support, and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050".
Johnson argued that Britain's green revolution "will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands, and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales" so that the country can "look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future".
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