“Going extinct is a bad thing. And driving yourselves extinct? In 70 million years, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” said Frankie, who is voiced in English by actor and songwriter Jack Black, from the podium of the U.N. General Assembly. “You are headed for a climate disaster and yet every year governments spend hundreds of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies.”
The talking dinosaur closed out his speech by framing the global pandemic as an opportunity for countries to transition to green energy sources for their economies, which elicited an ovation from delegates in the video.
Ahead of the Glasgow climate talks, some of the world’s top carbon emitters are also calling on rich countries to do more to help finance the developing world’s transition away from fossil fuels.
India, the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, said Wednesday it would not commit to a net-zero emissions target by mid-century. New Delhi instead called on developed nations to take “historic responsibility” for the greenhouse gases they have emitted over the centuries.
And a senior Chinese official said the same day that a lack of financial support from rich countries, such as their incomplete promise to mobilize $100 billion annually to the developing world by 2020, creates a “critical issue of mutual trust” between the two. China is the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases.
“Many developed nations are pushing for more climate goals when they have yet to meet existing pledges,” Ye Min, China’s environment vice-minister, said. “All parties should realize that climate goals unsupported by action is like building palaces in the air.”
Governments worldwide spend about $423 billion every year subsidizing fossil fuels, which are responsible for three-fourths of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a U.N. report published Wednesday.
The real cost is likely to be much higher, given negative effects of climate change such as the loss of biodiversity and the displacement of communities due to extreme weather.
Without more-ambitious pledges to cut emissions, the world is projected to warm 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared with the end of the 1800s — far above the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels.
Countries are “utterly failing,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said earlier this week.
“The era of half measures and hollow promises must end. The time for closing the leadership gap must begin in Glasgow,” Guterres said.