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TRENDING SCIENCE: Would you listen to a dinosaur talk about climate change?

Dinosaur has a warning for world leaders.

Fundamental Research

Fires raged, bodies of water flooded, storms gathered force, temperatures skyrocketed, heatwaves baked, ice melted. Welcome to a deadlier Earth in 2021 thanks to climate change. This and similar concerns have been voiced over and over again at the United Nations (UN) by many esteemed speakers. What if the UN summoned a different messenger this time?

Frankie goes to the United Nations

“I know a thing or two about extinction, and let me tell you, and you’d kind of think this would be obvious, going extinct is a bad thing,” declared a dinosaur named Frankie that looks like it stepped right out of ‘Jurassic World’. “At least we had an asteroid, what’s your excuse?” Imagine the surprise – shock? – of diplomats and delegates in the emblematic General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York when a ferocious-looking dinosaur rumbled in, broke protocol and then took over the podium. Now that’s how you make an entrance and capture the audience’s attention. “You’re headed for a climate disaster, and yet every year governments spend hundreds of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies,” Frankie warned. “Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions of dollars per year subsidising giant meteors. That’s what you’re doing right now.” A new report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), a leading organisation fighting to end climate change, shows that USD 423 billion (EUR 363 billion) is spent annually worldwide just to subsidise fossil fuels. That’s enough to cover a COVID-19 vaccination for every person on Earth, or three times the yearly amount needed to eliminate extreme poverty in the world. “Think of all the other things you could do with that money,” added Frankie. “Around the world people are living in poverty. Don’t you think helping them would make more sense than, I don’t know, paying for the demise of your entire species?” In the impassioned speech, Frankie also brought up the topic of COVID-19. “You’ve got a huge opportunity right now, as you rebuild your economies and bounce back from this pandemic. This is humanity’s big chance.” Frankie wraps up by pleading with the audience not to “choose extinction.” All present rose to their feet and applauded at the speech’s conclusion: “It’s time for you humans to stop making excuses and start making changes.”

Extinct climate activist with a message

This scene was part of the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign’s new short film released on 27 October by the UNDP that focuses on the detrimental effects of fossil fuel subsidies. It stars of course the computer-generated Frankie, the sole survivor of the asteroid, according to the extinct species’ official twitter account. International celebrities have lent their voices in numerous languages. “It’s not the first time that the extinction of the dinosaurs has been employed in popular culture to raise awareness about the threat posed to us as a species from environmental degradation,” American climatologist and leading climate change communicator Michael Mann told ‘Live Science’. “And this video has the potential to be very effective.”

Keywords

Frankie, dinosaur, United Nations, UN, climate change, fossil fuel, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Don’t Choose Extinction