British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for following the example of his Pakistani counterpart, Imran Khan, to plant 10 billion trees, as he told world leaders at the United Nations that humanity has to "grow up" and tackle climate change.
In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, he said it was now or never for the world to meet its goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Prime Minister Johnson is due to host a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in six weeks’ time. He is using his trip to the UN Headquarters in New York to press governments for tougher emissions-cutting targets and more money to help poor countries clean up their economies.
Amid the metaphors, the British leader made a series of calls for action to the UN member states, including:
- to restrain the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees
- to pledge collectively to achieve carbon neutrality – net zero – by the middle of the century
- all countries to step up and commit to very substantial carbon reductions by 2030, in particular with coal, cars, cash and trees
- the developing world to end the use of coal power by 2040 and the developed world to do so by 2030
- China to phase out the domestic use of coal
- only zero-emission vehicles to be on sale across the world by 2040
- every country to cut carbon by 68%
- to halt and reverse the loss of trees and biodiversity by 2030
- all nations to follow the example of Prime Minister Imran Khan to plant 10 billion trees
- and governments to work with financial institutions – the IMF and the World Bank – to leverage trillions of dollars in the private sector.
Johnson concluded his speech with a plea for world leaders to do right by the next generations.
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