UN secretary general at climate summit: 'We are digging our own graves'

UN secretary general at climate summit: 'We are digging our own graves'
© Getty

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres issued a call to action on Monday for countries to begin taking climate change seriously, telling the crowd at the COP26 conference that “we are digging our own graves.”

“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,” Guterres said. 

“Enough of brutalizing biodiversity, enough of killing ourselves with carbon, enough of treating nature like a toilet, enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves,” he added.


The secretary general also said the planet is “changing before our eyes,” pointing to rising sea levels, hotter oceans and parts of the Amazon rainforest emitting more carbon than they absorb.

“Recent climate action announcements might give the impression that we are on track to turn things around. This is an illusion,” Guterres said.

He said that as the countries join together for the COP26 conference, the world is “heading for climate disaster” and the globe is facing “a moment of truth.”

“The sirens are sounding. Our planet is talking to us and telling us something. And so are people everywhere. Climate action tops the list of people’s concerns, across countries, age and gender,” Guterres said.

“We must listen — and we must act — and we must choose wisely. On behalf of this and future generations, I urge you: Choose ambition. Choose solidarity. Choose to safeguard our future and save humanity,” he added.

Guterres’s comments came on the second day of the COP26 international climate conference, which is taking place in Glasgow. President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE and other world leaders are attending the summit with hopes of landing agreements on initiatives to reduce climate change.


The White House on Monday released its strategy for achieving “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It includes efforts to switch to clean energy sources for electricity generation, making portions of the economy function on electricity, increasing energy efficiency and scaling up the utilization of technology that takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.