COP26 Live: UN Chief says “stop treating nature like toilet”

The UN Secretary-General suggests a potential failure of climate talks could mean a “death sentence” for several countries

Pathway to COP26 report

The UN Chief has urged the world’s leaders and people around the world to “stop treating nature like a toilet.”

Speaking at the opening of the World Leaders Summit at COP26, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “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 brutalising biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet.”

Mr Guterres warned that the planet is “still careening towards climate catastrophe: “Even in the best-case scenario, temperatures will rise well above 2°C. So, as we open this much-anticipated climate conference, we are still heading for climate disaster.

“Young people know it. Every country sees it. Small Island Developing States and other vulnerable ones live it. For them, failure is not an option. Failure is a death sentence.”

Earlier, in his speech at the opening ceremony of COP26, Prince Charles said that climate change poses greater existential threat than Covid-19. 

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast