‘Climate action is a great economic opportunity for the US’
December 19, 2016 12:00 AM NPT
Tackling climate change is the ‘biggest economic opportunity’ in the history of the United States, no matter who holds political office, said Hollywood star and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
“There are a few, very prominent people that still deny the overwhelming conclusions of the world’s scientists that climate change is largely human-caused and needs immediate urgent attention,” he told a UN awards ceremony on Friday evening.
“But the truth about climate change has spread like wildfire”, he added.
DiCaprio’s comments, as he received a prize for his work as a global citizen, did not refer to US President-elect Donald Trump by name but were a thinly-veiled reference to his views and climate-skeptic cabinet members with oil industry ties.
Earlier this month, 42-year-old DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met with Trump and his team, reportedly arguing that support for renewable energy could create millions of jobs.
“In less than 100 years of our pollution-based prosperity, we humans have put our entire existence in jeopardy,” warned DiCaprio, who released his own documentary ‘Before the Flood’ on the impacts of global warming two months ago.
People everywhere are acting to curb the damage to humans, nature and wildlife from a warming planet, DiCaprio said - from putting a price on carbon emissions, to buying cleaner cars, eating less meat, and businesses vowing to be carbon-neutral.
DiCaprio, who has worked closely with outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on climate action, congratulated the UN chief for ‘elevating the significance of climate change to one of fundamental global sustainability and peace’.
Without Ban Ki-moon’s persistence, the world would never have made so much progress on climate change, culminating in the Paris Agreement sealed in December 2015, DiCaprio said.
The Paris Agreement is “a precious achievement that we must support and nurture”, he told his final press conference at the United Nations. “There is no going back,” he added.