Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders for failing to act on climate change in a foul-mouthed tirade to her fellow Cop26 protesters today.
Government representatives have gathered in Glasgow to discuss green issues this week, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson using his opening address to compare the situation to James Bond trying to diffuse a ‘doomsday device’.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, today accused countries of ‘treating nature like a toilet’ as he warned of a looming ‘climate catastrophe’.
Naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough asked attendees: ‘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?’
And Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the outcome of the climate summit would be ‘life or death for millions of people’, suggesting that failure to act could be worse than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis in the 1930s – a comment he later apologised for.
Speaking at a demonstration at Festival Park, Glasgow, on the first day of the Cop26 summit, Swedish 18-year-old activist Miss Thunberg said that heads of government were not doing enough to save the planet from disaster.
She said: ‘No more blah blah blah, no more whatever the f*** they are doing inside there.
‘Inside Cop, there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our future seriously, pretending to take the present seriously. Change is not going to come from inside there, that is not leadership – this is leadership… We say no more blah blah blah, no more exploitation of people and the planet.’
Miss Thunberg arrived in Glasgow on Sunday by train and will take part in two large protests through the city later in the week. Her stark warning comes as:
- One of the biggest security operations ever mounted in Britain got underway in Glasgow, amid warnings that climate protesters plan serious disruption;
- A report by the UN’s weather agency warned that sea levels were now rising twice as fast as in the 1990s;
- The PM told French president Emmanuel Macron to drop threats to penalise Britain, as environmentalists warned a growing spat over fishing rights risked overshadowing the climate summit;
- Ministers are closing in on a deal to end deforestation by paying poorer countries not to fell trees;
- Tina Stege, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, warned that the Pacific archipelago could disappear underwater unless the Glasgow summit achieves its aims;
- Climate poster girl Greta Thunberg backed direct action groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, saying it was necessary to ‘anger some people’ to get the message through.
Greta Thunberg alongside fellow climate activists during a demonstration at Festival Park, Glasgow, on the first day of the Cop26 summit
Miss Thunberg told demonstrators outside the conference that heads of government were not doing enough to save the planet from disaster
Speaking to demonstrators outside the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, she said: ‘No more blaa blaa blaa, no more whatever the f*** they are doing inside there’
Boris Johnson has told world leaders at the start of the COP26 summit that they can no longer afford to delay taking major action to address climate change as he warned ‘the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets’
World leaders including the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel convened in the main summit hall at lunchtime to hear Mr Johnson deliver the opening address
Joe Biden looked to be dozing off as one speaker underscored the importance of taking action to save the climate
Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets US President Joe Biden as leaders arrive to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow
Sir David Attenborough speaks during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow
Boris Johnson has warned Cop26 delegates that the longer it takes to tackle climate change, the higher the cost will be when a ‘catastrophe’ forces world leaders to act.
What are the key aims at COP26?
- Secure commitments on cutting emissions by 2030 and reaching Net Zero as close to 2050 as possible.
- Keep alive hopes of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
- Phase out unabated coal power stations, drum up investment in renewable energy.
- Strike deals on reducing deforestation.
- Rack up $100billion in climate finance pledges.
- Finalise rules to implement the Paris Agreement.
Addressing world leaders including US President Joe Biden, India’s Narendra Modi and German chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Johnson said the world was in the same position as James Bond as he tries to deactivate a doomsday device in his films.
But he said: ‘The tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real.’
Coining a phrase from activist Greta Thunberg, he warned that the promises to limit global temperature rises under the Paris Agreement would be ‘nothing but blah blah blah’ and the world’s anger would be uncontainable unless Cop26 was the moment they got real about climate change.
Miss Thunberg recently chastised Britain and other nations for ’empty words and promises’, accusing them of delivering too much ‘blah blah blah’ instead of offering any real action.
The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend.
However, hopes for the UN event have suffered fresh setbacks, after it emerged that China’s president Xi Jinping will not even give a ‘virtual’ speech, instead only submitting a written statement.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced he will not be coming, despite attending the G20. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, both in charge of big polluters, have declined to attend.
Meanwhile, the organisation of the conference has come under fire after thousands of delegates were forced to wait hours to get through shambolic security systems this morning.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (C) poses for a photograph during her meeting with climate activists Vanessa Nakate (R) and Greta Thunberg during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference
Boris Johnson listens to U.S. President Joe Biden as they attend a meeting focused on action and solidarity at the UN Climate Change Conference
Joe Biden’s presidential motorcade is pictured driving near Livingston as it makes its way from Edinburgh to Glasgow today
Mr Johnson (left) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right) greet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26
The president of the United States Joe Biden arrives at Edinburgh Airport on Air Force One ahead of the climate change summit
Mr Johnson pledged in his lunchtime speech to put another billion pounds into green finance – as long as the UK economy performs as expected in the coming years.
The PM repeated he wants global leaders to unveil steps on ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’ – the things he believes will make the most different in limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
Hypocrite airways? Jeff Bezos’s £48m Gulf Stream leads parade of 400 private jets into COP26
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos‘ £48million Gulf Stream has led a 400-strong parade of private jets into COP25 including Prince Albert of Monaco, scores of royals and dozens of ‘green’ CEOs – as an extraordinary traffic jam forced empty planes to fly 30 miles to find space to park.
Some environmental activists at the COP26 climate conference will be urging others to cut down on air travel and eat less meat, but apparently it is fine for billionaires to fly in on their own planes on routes already served by commercial airlines.
Meanwhile, as the super rich were whisked away into waiting limos, hundreds of less fortunate delegates were left unable to get to Glasgow after brutal storms crippled rail links, forcing travellers to sleep on the floor of Euston station in London.
On Sunday, MailOnline observed at least 52 private jets landing at Glasgow – while estimates put the total number flying in for the conference at 400. Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year.
Prince Charles was among those travelling by non-commercial plane from the G20 in Rome, MailOnline can reveal. A Clarence House spokesman said: ‘His Royal Highness has personally campaigned for a shift towards Sustainable Aviation Fuel and would only undertake travel to Rome when it was agreed that sustainable fuel would be used in the plane.’ The spokesman said that sustainable fuel would also be used ‘wherever possible… from now on’.
As Boris Johnson used his opening address to compare world leaders to James Bond trying to diffuse a ‘doomsday device’ some found their own way of rising to the challenge, with Prince Albert of Monaco appearing to be among those choosing to fly private – according to an analysis of flight records by MailOnline.
Mr Johnson had set the tone as the G20 wrapped up last night by reading the riot act to his fellow world leaders, saying their promises on tackling climate change are starting to ‘sound hollow’.
The PM said there are ‘no compelling excuses for our procrastination’ on reducing harmful emissions and action already taken amounts to ‘drops in a rapidly warming ocean’.
Mr Johnson welcomed world leaders to Scotland by telling them that the country’s most famous fictional son is James Bond.
The PM said the fictional hero ‘generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative films strapped to a doomsday device, desperately trying to work out which coloured wire to pull to turn it off while a red digital clock ticks down remorselessly to a detonation that will end human life as we know it’.
Addressing the packed summit hall, he said: ‘And we are in roughly the same position, my fellow global leaders, as James Bond today. Except that the tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real.
‘And the clock is ticking to the furious rhythm of hundreds of billions of pistons and turbines and furnaces and engines with which we are pumping carbon into the air faster and faster, record outputs quilting the Earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2, raising the temperature of the pkanet with a speed and an abruptness that is entirely man made.
‘We know what the scientists tell us and we have learned not to ignore them. Two degrees more and we jeopardise the food supply for hundreds of millions of people as crops wither, locusts swarm.
‘Three degrees and you can add more wildfires and cyclones, twice as many, five times as many droughts and 36 times as many heat waves.
‘Four degrees and we say goodbye to whole cities – Miami, Alexandria, Shanghai – all lost beneath the waves.
‘And the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and he higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act because humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It is one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now.’
Mr Johnson said that the current crop of world leaders will be judged harshly by future generations if they fail to agree a deal to restrict global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.
He said: ‘If we fail they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the historic turning point when history failed to turn.
‘They will judge us with bitterness and with a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today. And they will be right.’
Mr Johnson closed his speech by telling his counterparts that they have a ‘duty’ to work together to make COP26 the moment when they begin to finally ‘defuse the bomb’ of climate change.
He said: ‘We may not feel much like James Bond, not all of us necessarily look like James Bond, but we have the opportunity and we have the duty to make this summit the moment when humanity finally began, and I stress began, to defuse that bomb and to make this the moment when we began irrefutably to turn the tide and to begin the fight back against climate change.’
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today met with Miss Thunberg at Cop26, following the Swedish environmental activist’s arrival in Scotland on Saturday.
On Monday morning, Ms Thunberg along with fellow campaigner Vanessa Nakate, from Uganda, met with the First Minister, who tweeted: ‘The voices of young people like @GretaThunberg and @vanessa-vash must be heard loudly and clearly at Cop26 – the next few days should not be comfortable for leaders, the responsibility to act must be felt.’
Ms Thunberg has previously been critical of the Scottish Government’s climate policy, saying that the country was ‘not a leader on climate change’, as the First Minister had previously stated.
The summit was again blighted by organisational chaos as world leaders arrived, with huge queues for delegates to get in
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in arrives for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow on Monday morning
Greta Thunberg alongside fellow climate activists during a demonstration at Festival Park, Glasgow
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (C) poses for a photograph during her meeting with climate activists Vanessa Nakate (R) and Greta Thunberg during the COP26
Prince Charles is pictured in discussion with billionaire Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez in Scotland on Monday morning
French president Emmanuel Macron gestures to the Prime Minister as they chat on Monday morning as the climate change summit kicks off
President Joe Biden waves as he gets off his plane on a cold day at Edinburgh Airport, before he heads to Glasgow for the summit
Scotland has pledged to cut emissions by 75% by 2030 and be net zero by 2045, but the last three years of targets have been missed.
COP26 delegates forced to FLY to Glasgow after a SINGLE fallen tree causes travel chaos at London Euston
Mayhem at London’s Euston Station continued today after a single tree fell and damaged overhead wires causing travel chaos for delegates trying to reach the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Pendolino climate train left London Euston on time this morning but other delegates were forced to fly to Glasgow and passengers spent the night on the floor after heavy winds brought a tree down on top of overhead lines.
Delays continued this morning after the single tree fell between between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail said its teams spent the night on site near Long Buckby in Northamptonshire.
One journalist travelling to the COP26 climate summit was quoted almost £1,000 for a taxi between Edinburgh and Glasgow after battling train cancellations.
Another CEO delegate, who took to a plane to reach the climate change summit, said the irony of having to choose the carbon-heavy option after extreme weather affected the trains ‘was not lost’ on him.
Meanwhile, Mr Khan wrote on Twitter: ‘Delighted to lead a delegation of mayors from across the globe from London to Glasgow on our special electric Pendolino climate train. Per capita passenger emissions are estimated to be seven times lower than flying.’
Delays continued this morning even after engineers worked overnight to repair the damaged wires and Network Rail last night admitted ‘extreme weather’ had ‘got the better of us’. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson arrived at Glasgow International Airport at 11.30pm last night after flying straight from the G20 summit in Rome, Italy.
And the chaos didn’t stop with Britain’s rail network, as thousands of attendees battled against lengthy immovable queues through security this morning. One bystander joked the conference would be a disaster because no one would be there until the second day.
Nicola Sturgeon has said that world leaders gathering in Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit should feel ‘bloody uncomfortable’ for not ‘doing enough’ to tackle global warming.
Ms Sturgeon, speaking as the crucial summit began, insisted: ‘Every climate promise must be kept. Frankly none of them are being kept right now.’
Speaking at an event hosted by the environmental organisation WWF, she told how she had just met Ms Thunberg and another young climate activist, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Those voices often, including for me, are really uncomfortable at times, because they make us confront the hard realities of our own lack of delivery.
‘But my goodness they are so important to shake the gatherings that will take place here over the next few days out of the sense of complacency that surrounds them all too often.’
She continued: ‘If we only face up to the easy, relatively easy things we won’t get anywhere. This has to be a moment that leaders, all of us, whether we are round that negotiating table or not, are held to account for the reality of what we promise not for the rhetoric of it.’
With leaders of more than 100 countries gathering in Glasgow for the talks, Ms Sturgeon urged campaigners to ‘make life really uncomfortable for any government, any leader that is not doing enough’.
She added: ‘We have all got to be pushed much harder much faster. This summit should not feel comfortable for anybody in a position of leadership and responsibility, it should feel bloody uncomfortable because nobody yet is doing enough, that is the reality.’
Ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that failure in Glasgow could mean that the Paris agreement from 2015 – in which leaders promised to work towards keeping global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees – would ‘crumple’.
Mr Johnson said: ‘If Glasgow fails, than the whole thing fails.
‘The Paris Agreement will have crumpled at the first reckoning.’
Leaders should put their egos aside, the First Minister said, and focus instead on working to reach an agreement.
‘I hope we can all put egos aside over the next few days to get the outcome that we need, that’s what I am committed to do – I’ve said that to the Prime Minister, to (Cop26 President) Alok Sharma,’ she said.
‘We’ve all got a big responsibility here and if ever there’s a time and a moment in history for everybody to put their political interest, their egos to one side and just focus.
‘It’s easy to exaggerate these things sometimes, but this is literally about the future of the planet, are we going to step up and save the planet or are we going to accept a pretty bleak outlook on this planet?’
A huge helicopter today shadowed the presidential motorcade on the way to Glasgow on Monday morning
President Joe Biden’s car, commonly known as ‘the Beast’, drives along the M8 motorway near Salsburgh on its way to the summit
Mr Johnson and Sir David Attenborough were in the audience listening to speeches on the first day of the leaders’ summit
Antonio Gutteres insisted it is an ‘illusion’ to think there has been enough progress reducing carbon emissions, and mining for fossil fuels is like ‘digging our own graves’
Mr Guterres greeted all 120 world leaders to the summit individually alongside Boris Johnson – and received a particularly effusive welcome from India’s Narendra Modi
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the opening ceremony for the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow
Prince Charles has demanded a ‘military-style campaign’ to mobilise trillions of dollars of private sector cash to ‘save our precious planet’
Glasgow Airport arrivals for the COP26 sees the Germans onboard an Airbus with Chancellor Angela Merkel taking the lead
UN chief accuses countries of treating nature ‘like a toilet’ and warns mining for fossil fuels is like ‘digging our own graves’
The UN secretary-general accused countries of ‘treating nature like a toilet’ today as he warned of a looming ‘climate catastrophe’.
Antonio Guterres insisted it is an ‘illusion’ to think there has been enough progress reducing carbon emissions, and mining for fossil fuels is like ‘digging our own graves’.
The startling comparison came in a speech opening the COP26 session for world leaders.
Mr Guterres said the world’s ‘addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink’.
He told the opening plenary of the conference in Glasgow: ‘We face a stark choice: either we stop it — or it stops us.
‘It’s time to say: enough. Enough of brutalising biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet.
‘Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves. ‘
But she stressed countries like Scotland – which does not have its own seat at the Cop26 negotiating table – still had a ‘massive role to play’ in tackling the climate crisis.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I am not going to betray any secrets here when I say I would prefer Scotland to be round the negotiating table here in our own right, pushing forward, but short of that we have got to make sure we are doing everything we can.’
She said Scotland was a ‘world leader’ in terms of climate action – but added that currently ‘the bar of world leadership is set far too low, so it doesn’t take enough to be a world leader’.
With Scotland having missed its emission reduction targets for the past three years, she said the country has ‘got to up our own ambition and delivery against that ambition’.
She also told how Scotland had a ‘big part to play’ in bringing together cities, regions and other devolved administrations, saying: ‘If we look at what is required in terms of emissions reductions to meet 1.5 degrees, about half of the total reduction required to achieve that requires action on the part of governments like the Scottish Government, sub-national governments.
‘So if we don’t play our part the world won’t get where it needs to be.’
But she added: ‘That doesn’t let the countries that will be around that negotiating table off the hook, they have to absolutely step up and do everything that is required of them as well.’
Channelling his hero Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘While Cop26 would not be the end of climate change, it can and it must mark the beginning of the end.’
Mr Johnson took to the stage to make his speech after the delegates watched a performance by Skye piper Brighde Chaimbeul, a video narrated by Brian Cox and a poem by Yrsa Daley-Ward composed for Cop26.
Around 120 heads of state and government are attending the world leaders’ summit at the start of the Cop26 talks, where countries are under pressure to increase action in the next decade to tackle dangerous warming.
THE ‘EMERGENCY APPEAL FOR CLIMATE ACTION’: PETITION BY GRETA AND OTHERS
Climate activist Greta Thunberg during a demonstration at Festival Park, Glasgow, on the first day of the Cop26 summit
Greta Thunberg is among the authors of a petition calling for urgent action on climate change – which now has more than 1million signatures. The petition reads:
To world leaders:
That’s how young people around the world are describing our governments’ failure to cut carbon emissions. And it’s no surprise.
We are catastrophically far from the crucial goal of 1.5°C, and yet governments everywhere are still accelerating the crisis, spending billions on fossil fuels.
This is not a drill. It’s code red for the Earth. Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated — a terrifying future that will be created, or avoided, by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide.
As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency. Not next year. Not next month. Now:
Keep the precious goal of 1.5°C alive with immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen.
End all fossil fuel investments, subsidies, and new projects immediately, and stop new exploration and extraction.
End creative carbon accounting by publishing total emissions for all consumption indices, supply chains, international aviation and shipping, and the burning of biomass.
Deliver the $100bn promised to the most vulnerable countries, with additional funds for climate disasters.
Enact climate policies that protect workers and the most vulnerable, and reduce all forms of inequality.
We can still do this. There is still time to avoid the worst consequences if we are prepared to change. It will take determined, visionary leadership. And it will take immense courage — but know that when you rise, billions will be right behind you.
Greta from Sweden, Vanessa from Uganda, Dominika from Poland, and Mitzi from the Philippines