‘This could be the end of civilisation’: Boris issues dire warning as he arrives at G20 in Rome to rally support for COP26 (but in the meantime he and Carrie sample La Dolce Vita)
- Boris Johnson compared climate change’s effects to the fall of the Roman Empire during a speech last night
- His comments come as some fear that COP26 in Glasgow will be a damp squib with low attendance
- Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have already said they will not attend the summit but Xi will do a speech
- Mr Johnson gave the bleak vision of the future as he arrived in Italy’s capital city for a G20 summit
Boris Johnson issued a dire warning on the planet’s future as he arrived at the G20 in Rome to rally support for COP26 yesterday.
Ahead of the start of the climate conference on Monday, the Prime Minister enjoyed a spot of sightseeing in the Italian capital city, walking the iconic Spanish Steps with his pregnant wife Carrie last night and a tour around the Colosseum this morning.
Mr Johnson warned world leaders ‘the future of civilisation is at stake’ and compared climate change to the fall of the Roman Empire as he arrived in Rome for the G20 summit.
His apocalyptic vision of the future, which comes as he desperately tried to build momentum ahead of the COP26 summit next week, claimed society could return to the dark ages with ‘terrifying’ speed.
Mr Johnson delivered an extraordinary warning that generations to come could slump into illiteracy – and even suggested cows could get smaller.
He argued that after the collapse of Rome, civilisation even lost the ability to draw properly – saying ‘our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’ could face food and water shortages.
Boris Johnson walks the Spanish Steps with his wife Carrie ahead of the G20 summit
The Prime Minister also visited the Colosseum this morning, after yesterday offering an apocalyptic vision of the future
As the sun rose over Italy this morning the Prime Minister was offered a tour of the Colosseum, where gladiators fought in ancient Rome
At one point, Mrs Johnson knelt down on the steps while her husband looked around. Mr Johnson yesterday argued that after the collapse of Rome, civilisation even lost the ability to draw properly – saying ‘our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’ could face food and water shortages
The Prime Minister yesterday gave an apocalyptic vision of the future and said society could return to the dark ages with ‘terrifying’ speed, as he desperately tried to build momentum ahead of the COP26 summit next week
French president Emmanuel Macron, in Rome to attend the G20 leaders’ summit, last night visited the Trevi Fountain with his wife Brigitte
The comments came amid fears that the Glasgow gathering could end up as a damp squib.
China’s premier Xi Jinping has confirmed that he will not attend the event in person, although he will make a speech by video link.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also shunning the summit along with Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro.
Speaking to reporters en route to the G20, Mr Johnson said: ‘Humanity as a whole, at half time is about 5-1 down.
‘We have got a long way to go but we can do it.
‘We have the ability to equalise, to save the position, to come back but it will take a huge amount of effort.’
In a long description of the tragedy of the Roman Empire, Mr Johnson said ‘things can go backwards as well as forwards’.
‘Unless we get this right in tackling climate change we could see our civilisation, our world, also go backwards and we could consign future generations to a life that is far less agreeable than our own.’
The couple, who are expecting their second child together, walked the Spanish Steps ahead of the start of the G20 summit today
Mr Johnson yesterday delivered an extraordinary warning that generations to come could slump into illiteracy – and even suggested cows could get smaller
Mr and Mrs Johnson held hands as they walked down the Spanish Steps accompanied by an entourage
The comments came amid fears that the Glasgow gathering could end up as a damp squib
In a long description of the tragedy of the Roman Empire, Mr Johnson yesterday said ‘things can go backwards as well as forwards’
Boris made the comments as he arrived in the Eternal City for a G20 summit where he is desperately trying to ratchet up support for a breakthrough agreement to be made at COP26
The Prime Minister is said to have become much more environmentally conscious since he met his wife Carrie (pictured)
COP26 begins in Glasgow on Sunday and will look to build on agreements made at the Paris climate summit in 2015 where nations agreed to try to keep global heating to below 1.5C
The Prime Minister’s comments come at a time where some have claimed that the absence of China and Russia’s premiers will make COP26 a damp squid
He went on: ‘We could consign our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren to a life in which there are not only huge movements of populations and huge migrations, but also shortages of food, shortages of water, of conflict caused by climate change and there is absolutely no question that this is a reality that we must face.’
Mr Johnson said after Roman civilisation humanity became ‘far less literate’.
‘Look at evidence of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire if you doubt what I say, when Rome fell humanity became far less literate overall, people lost the ability to read and write, they lost the ability to draw properly, they lost the ability to build in the way the Romans did.’
He said: ‘Things can go backwards and they can go backwards at a really terrifying speed.’
COP26 begins on Sunday at Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and will welcome 30,000 delegates, 10,000 police and as many as 200,000 protesters for the 13-day conference.
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