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Leonardo DiCaprio compares climate change to slavery

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One of the most influential people on the planet took the floor at a United Nations gathering Friday to speak about the pressing issue of climate change.

Leonardo DiCaprio, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, spoke at the opening session of the signature ceremony for a new agreement in which a record-breaking 175 countries promise to make an active effort to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. DiCaprio, who has been using his social media accounts to document the effect of climate change, opened his remarks by quoting Abraham Lincoln.

“[Lincoln] was speaking before the U.S. Congress to confront the defining issue of his time: slavery,” DiCaprio said. “Remarkably, his words ring as true today when applied to the defining crisis of our time: climate change.”

DiCaprio went on describe his worldwide journey to learn about climate change, saying that it has “absolutely terrified him.” He then went on to insist that the human race end its reliance on fossil fuels: “Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.”

“After 21 years of debates and conferences, it is time to declare: no more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing the fossil fuel companies to manipulate and dictate the science and policies that affect our future,” DiCaprio said as the room applauded.

Watch DiCaprio’s full statement below.

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