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Boris Johnson Predicts A Global Collapse ‘Like the Fall of the Roman Empire’ If Leaders Don’t Work on Climate

Boris Johnson Predicts A Global Collapse ‘Like the Fall of the Roman Empire’ If Leaders Don’t Work on Climate

A failure by world leaders to commit to tackling the climate emergency could prompt “very difficult geopolitical events” including mass migration and global competition for food and water, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his fellow leaders at the G20 gathering in Rome. Johnson called upon his colleagues to make the commitment to focus on the climate emergency at the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Johnson said the chances of success “hung in the balance” when speaking to reporters on the way to Rome on Friday, using the example of the collapse of the Roman Empire to highlight the possibility of what he called “runaway climate change” bringing a “decline in civilization”.

Photo Credit: Boris Johnson

“If you increase the temperatures of the planet by four degrees or more, as they are predicted to do remorselessly, you’ll have seen the graphs, then you produce these really very difficult geopolitical events,” Johnson told England’s Channel 4 News.

Johnson has faced criticism this week for his own inaction over tackling emissions, but he arrived in Rome bearing a blunt message for fellow G20 leaders: “When the Roman Empire fell, it was largely as a result of uncontrolled immigration. The empire could no longer control its borders, people came in from the east, all over the place, and we went into a dark age, Europe went into a dark age that lasted a very long time,” Johnson said. “The point of that is to say it can happen again. People should not be so conceited as to imagine that history is a one-way ratchet. Unless you can make sure next week at COP in Glasgow that we keep alive this prospect of restricting the growth in the temperature of the planet then we really face a real problem for humanity.”

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While in Rome, Johnson will hold bilateral talks with Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, whose own record on reducing emissions has been heavily criticized, as well as Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Italy’s Mario Draghi. Johnson is not due to hold a one-on-one meeting with President Joe Biden, who will also be at the G20 and COP26, although the pair will attend a meeting in Rome about the Iran nuclear deal. Also attending this meeting will be the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is expected to bring along her likely successor, Olaf Scholz, currently the finance minister.

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