Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

‘Either we stop it, or it stops us’: Top quotes from COP26 climate change summit

Here are quotes from key players at the COP26 World Leaders Summit.

From left to right: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, Sir David Attenborough and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley. (AP)

World leaders have gathered in Glasgow to take part in the COP26 climate summit — a UN conference to avert the disastrous effects of climate change.

The summit comes six years after the Paris Agreement was signed by over 190 countries to limit rising global temperatures to well below 2 degree C with a view of reaching 1.5 degree C.

The two-week event, from October 31 to November 12, will see leaders from more than 190 countries, thousands of negotiators, researchers and citizens coming together to strengthen a global response to the threat of climate change.

Here are quotes from key players:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight on that Doomsday clock and we need to act now.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (AP)

“But while COP26 will not be the end of climate change, it can and it must mark the beginning of the end.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“If commitments fall short at the end of this COP, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies – not every five years (but) every year and every moment.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (AP)

“Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink. We face a stark choice: Either we stop it — or it stops us. It’s time to say: enough.”


“Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper.”

“The science is clear. We know what to do. First, we must keep the goal of 1.5 degree Celsius alive. This requires greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.”

US President Joe Biden

“Glasgow must be the start of a decade of shared ambition and innovation to preserve our future.”

“We can do this – we just have to make a choice to do it.”

President Joe Biden speaks during the COP26 UN Climate Summit, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (AP)

“The US is not only back at the table, but leading by example”

“I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States, the last administration, pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit.”

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, while retweeting an appeal for supporters to sign an open letter accusing leaders of betrayal, wrote: “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.”

British naturalist David Attenborough

“Is this how it is doomed to end?”

Sir David Attenborough delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday Nov. 1, 2021. (AP)

“We are, after all, the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth. If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.”

“In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery.”


Samoan environmentalist Brianna Fruean

“We are not just victims to this crisis, we have been resilient beacons of hope. Pacific youth have rallied behind the cry ‘We are not drowning, we are fighting’. This is our warrior cry to the world. We are not drowning, we are fighting. This is my message from Earth to COP.”

Prince Charles

“Quite literally it is the last-chance saloon. We must now translate fine words into still finer actions.”

Prince Charles at the COP26 Summit.

“Recent IPCC report gave us a clear diagnosis of the scale of the problem. We know what we must do.”

“I can only urge you, as the world’s decision-makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work, together, to rescue this precious planet and save the threatened future of our young people.”


Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

“Our people are watching and our people are taking note … Can there be peace and prosperity if one-third of the world lives in prosperity and two-thirds live underseas and face calamitous threats to our wellbeing?”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

“We are filling our end of the bargain at COP. The fact that China isn’t is not something that they can readily point to us.”

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“They are a big country, with a lot of resources and a lot of capabilities, and they are perfectly well capable of living up to their responsibilities and it is up to them to do so.”

First published on: 01-11-2021 at 10:50:23 pm
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