British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told world leaders at the United Nations that humanity has to “grow up” and tackle climate change, explaining why humans must stop trashing the planet like an unruly  teenager. It’s now or never if the world is to meet its goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Johnson argued. “If we keep on the current track then the temperatures will go up by 2.7 degrees or more by the end of the century… We will see desertification, drought, crop failure, and mass movements of humanity on a scale not seen before. Not because of some unforeseen natural event or disaster, but because of us, because of what we are doing now.”

Johnson makes this plea as he and the United Kingdom prepare to host the upcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow, which is expected to drive more ambitious global climate action as scientists warn that climate change is close to becoming out of control. Johnson has championed the expansion of renewable energy, saying the U.K. could become the “Saudi Arabia of wind,” but has also been scrutinized for failing to scrap new oil drilling and new coal mines. Asked recently to defend remarks from his trade secretary, who has called climate change scientists “doom-mongers” and “fanatics,” Johnson acknowledged that some of his own past thoughts “from 20 years ago” were not “entirely supportive of the current struggle.”

“Facts change,” he told The Guardian, “and people change their minds.”Johnson concluded his 20 minute speech, which was entirely devoted to climate change, by praising China’s pledge to no longer fund coal-fired power plants abroad, and the U.S. plan to double financial aid to help countries tackle climate change. (Reuters, CNN, NBC News, NPR, Washington Post $)