COP26: 'Lack of applause' for Scott Morrison amid 'death sentence' warning

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  • UN warns world facing climate change "death sentence"

  • Greta Thunberg tells leaders to "shove your climate crisis"

  • Lack of applause noted after Australian Prime Minister's speech

  • David Attenborough shares message of hope

"Digging our own graves" is how United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described the world's addiction to fossil fuels.

Speaking at COP26 climate talks in Glasgow overnight, Mr Guterres warned we were "killing ourselves with carbon" and called on world leaders to stop "treating nature like a toilet".

Greta Thunberg outside COP26 overnight on the left. Pictured on the right is Scott Morrison.
Greta Thunberg spoke outside COP26 overnight, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke before leaders inside the conference: Source: Reuters

Noting the years since the Paris Agreement was signed have been the hottest on record, he warned failure to stop global heating would be a "death sentence".

"We face a moment of truth," he said.

"We are fast approaching tipping points that will trigger escalating feedback loops of global heating."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaking at COP26.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told COP26 the world was facing a "death sentence". Source: Reuters

With young leaders converging on Glasgow to voice their displeasure at the lack of action by world leaders to tackle the climate crisis, Mr Guterres said he stood by them, calling them "unstoppable".

"They are larger. They are louder," he said.

"And, I assure you, they are not going away."

'Shove your climate crisis up your arse,' Greta Thunberg sings

Media has been swarming around 18-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg since she arrived in Glasgow this week.

Mobbed by adoring fans she posted a video to Twitter of herself leading a chant: "You can shove your climate crisis up your arse."

The clearly frustrated Fridays For Future founder told a crowd assembled outside COP26 previous talks had failed and so far, the current one was "just like the previous COPs".

"Inside COP there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our futures seriously," she said.

"Pretending to take the present seriously of the people who are being affected already today by the climate crisis.

"Change is not going to come from inside there."

Lack of applause after Prime Minister Morrison's speech

Inside the summit, commentators noted the lack of applause after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke before the assembled leaders.

Australian Conservation Foundation’s Gavan McFadzean characterised the speech as containing "marketing-style slogans", adding the government has its "head stuck in the sand" and is refusing to acknowledge the world is moving away from gas and coal.

In his four-minute speech, Mr Morrison rallied against increasing the cost of fossil fuels, and talked up rooftop solar and future technologies as the "Australian way" to meet net zero by 2050.

"It will be our scientists, our technologists, our engineers, our entrepreneurs, our industrialists and our financiers that will actually chart a path to net zero," he said.

"And it is up to us as leaders of governments to back them in."

While he promised Australia is on track to reduce emissions by 35 per cent by 2030, independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the Climate Council are urging the country to aim for 75 per cent below 2005 levels.

The United Nations has warned if world leaders did not commit to stronger emissions reduction targets, the world is on track to hit a global temperature rise of 2.7 degrees by the end of the century and this would lead to "catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate".

Sir David Attenborough speaks during COP26's opening ceremony.
Sir David Attenborough spoke at the opening ceremony of COP26. Source: Reuters

David Attenborough hopes for 'wonderful recovery' of planet

Appearing in his role as the People's Advocate, British naturalist David Attenborough asked those attending the conference to consider how future generations would view the strength of commitments made at COP26.

In his message of hope, Mr Attenborough said there was every reason to believe that "together we are powerful enough" to save the planet.

"I've witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery," he said.

"That desperate hope, ladies and gentlemen, delegates, excellencies, is why the world is looking to you and why you are here."

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