Boris Johnson’s climate speech annotated: what he said and what he meant

Boris Johnson’s climate speech annotated: what he said and what he meant

PM’s speech to UN general assembly is revealing in several ways. Fiona Harvey reads between the lines

Mr President, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

An inspection of the fossil record over the last 178m years – since mammals first appeared – reveals that the average mammalian species exists for about a million years before it evolves into something else or vanishes into extinction.

Johnson begins his speech conventionally, if dully, by stretching back to the dawn of humanity, as many have done before to stress the momentous nature of the climate crisis, which as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in August is bringing about changes “unprecedented” in hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of years.

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