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"Don't choose extinction": Dinosaur gets the climate message across ahead of U.N. summit

United Nations — The United Nations has tried just about everything to get the climate message across. Secretary-General António Guterres recently called the crisis a "code red," and world leaders including President Biden are gathering next week for the U.N.'s global climate summit, called COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Now a new voice is being added to the calls for action: Frankie the dinosaur, whose message is, "Don't choose extinction."

Don't Choose Extinction by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on YouTube

In a new short film produced by the U.N. Development Programme, Frankie (voiced by actor Jack Black) urges humans to change course before it's too late.

"Listen up, people. I know a thing or two about extinction," he says. "Going extinct is a bad thing. And driving yourselves extinct in 70 million years? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

He calls out governments for spending billions of dollars on fossil fuel subsidies and says rebuilding economies after the pandemic offers a chance to do things differently.

The U.N. says the "Don't Choose Extinction" campaign and film are intended "to shine a spotlight on fossil fuel subsidies and how they are canceling out significant progress towards ending climate change and are driving inequality by benefiting the rich."

The film has Frankie the dinosaur shocking U.N. diplomats (with sneak appearances by a few real-life U.N. officials) by striding up to the General Assembly podium to make a speech.

"At least we had an asteroid," the dinosaur says. "What's your excuse?"

This is the first short film to be made inside the U.N. General Assembly using computer-generated imagery, and global celebrities voice the dinosaur in numerous languages, including Jack Black (English), Eliza Gonzalez (Spanish), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish) and Aissa Maiga (French). 

"The film is fun and engaging, but the issues it speaks to could not be more serious," said Ulrika Modéer, who directs UNDP's Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy.

A new poll shows a majority of Americans support policies to address climate change —  a growing priority as extreme weather, drought, wildfires and rising seas impact millions. 

"COP26 must be the moment where all nations rise to the challenge of climate change, especially high-emitters. As the window to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius narrows, this is our only pathway to secure the future of people and planet," said Achim Steiner, the U.N. Development Programme administrator.

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