Leonardo DiCaprio took centre stage at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York today and implored politicians and industry officials to seize the opportunity to “make history” by taking “decisive” action to save the planet.
DiCaprio, who was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace on Climate Change last week, joined thousands of fellow activists in the Big Apple’s People’s Climate Change March on Sunday and on Tuesday, he headed to the U.N. headquarters and delivered a four-minute speech, calling on delegates to act before it’s too late.
He told the audience, “I stand before you not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen – one of the 400,000 people who marched in the streets of New York on Sunday and the billions of others around the world who want to solve our climate crisis.
“As an actor, I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters, often solving fictitious problems. I believe that mankind has looked at climate change in that same way – as if it were a fiction, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away. But I think we all know better than that now.”
DiCaprio went on to list examples of extreme weather conditions to prove that “accelerated climate change is here right now”, adding, “None of this is rhetoric and none of this is hysteria; it is fact…
“You can make history or you will be vilified by it. To be clear, this is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car; this disaster has grown beyond the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries and our governments around the world taking decisive and large scale action. Now must be our moment for action.”
He urged global officials to work together to introduce hefty fines for excessive carbon pollution and eliminate government subsidies for oil, coal and gas companies in an effort to promote the use of renewable energy.
Concluding his hard-hitting speech, he said, “The economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse… Renewable energy is not only achievable, but good economic policy. This is the most urgent of times and the most urgent of messages.”