During his acceptance speech, DiCaprio urged world leaders to do more.
“Last month in Paris , world leaders reached a historic agreement that provides a concrete framework to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “This was an important first step, but we are a long way off from claiming victory in this fight for our future and for the survival of our planet.”
While traveling recently to film a documentary on the impacts of climate change, DiCaprio said he was “astonished to see that ancient glaciers” in Greenland and the Arctic are “rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific models.”
In India, he saw farmers’ fields devastated by unprecedented flooding. He said we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground , urged business leaders to divest from fossil fuels and pushed for a rapid transition to renewable .
“We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity. Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered-up the evidence of our changing climate,” he said. “Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”
“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong,” he told the audience. “Twenty years ago, we described this problem as an addiction. Today, we possess the means to end this reliance.
“The challenge before us requires each and every one of us to take action. We owe this to ourselves, but more importantly to the future generations who are counting on us.”
DiCaprio also announced that his foundation is pledging a new commitment of $15 million to environmental projects, including one that protects 6.5 million acres of rainforest on Sumatra in Indonesia from what DiCaprio described as the “invasive and destructive practices” of the palm oil industry.
The actor spoke about disappearing Arctic glaciers and devastating Indian floods he had recently witnessed as he makes a documentary about the climate crisis.
The star of ‘The Revenant’ said: "There's no doubt to the world's scientific community that this is a direct result of human activity and the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future."
And he urged the world to switch to existing renewable energy, which he said would not only save the planet but also make economic sense by saving $42trillion in energy cost savings.
He praised Microsoft and Facebook founders Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for committing to a zero emissions future.
The activist actor was speaking as he was presented a 'Crystal Award' from World Economic Forum (WEF) as part of the work of his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which raises awareness of climate issues.
The organisation gives the award to artists who it believes are contributing to 'improving the state of the world and who best represent the spirit of Davos'.
The actor also called for the world's complex ecosystems to be protected.
He said: "They are the foundation of our global economy, and more importantly our inter-connected climate.
"Life without them, as we know it, would simply collapse."
He added: "Roughly only two per cent of our oceans and 12 per cent of our lands are formally protected from invasive human activity like commercial fishing, agriculture, logging and energy extraction."
The actor announced that his foundation would make $15million grant to support sustainable projects, including the Rainforest Action Network's work to protect rain forests on Sumatra from the palm oil industry.
The foundation is also partnering with Google to fund the 'global fishing watch' project to monitor and help stop over fishing.