Spanish Leader Scolds Climate Change Deniers, Urges ‘Fanatics’ to Repent

Spain’s interim prime minister said Monday “only a handful of fanatics deny the evidence” of climate change, urging those who disagree to admit they’re wrong, change their mind and join the “global consensus.”

Pedro Sánchez said “alternative facts” about climate must be fought back with actions as he addressed the opening of a two-week COP25 U.N. climate summit in Madrid, El Pais reported.

He spoke the day after former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry argued climate change must be treated “like a war.”

The leader of Spain’s Socialists, who is trying to assemble enough parliamentary support to remain in government, offered to host the summit after Chile was rocked by a wave of anti-government protests.

”These days, Madrid will be the capital of the fight against climate change and for a real commitment. But above all it wants to be the capital of dialogue and words.”

“For years, several versions of climate change denial were in circulation. Today, luckily only a handful of fanatics deny the evidence,” he added. “No one can escape this challenge by themselves. There is no wall that can protect any country, regardless of how powerful it is.”

“If Europe led the industrial revolution, Europe must lead the decarbonization [effort]. At a moment marked by the silence of some, Europe has a lot to say,” said Sánchez.

“There is no wall that will protect any country, as powerful as it might be,” he concluded, calling for Europe to lead the global efforts for de-carbonization while ignoring the massive contribution to global pollution made by China.

Sánchez also said development should not ignore women and the environment.

Noting the contribution of Eunice Foote, the 19th-century U.S. female scientist who was one of the first people to see signs of global warming, Sánchez also said that development should not ignore “women or the physical limits of the environment.”

U.N. chief António Guterres said earlier the world has a choice to tackle climate change or surrender, asking countries to decide whether they “really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand, that fiddled while the planet burned?”

Guterres said new data shows levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have hit a record high.

COP25 has drawn upwards of 25,000 participants and 1500 journalists to the Spanish capital for a full two weeks to talk about climate and weather.

AP contributed to this report

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