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‘The moment of crisis has come’: Sir David Attenborough issues urgent warning on climate change

Renowned naturalist calls on governments to make ‘life or death decisions’


Sir David Attenborough has warned that the “moment of crisis” for climate change has come and made an urgent appeal for action in a new interview.

The renowned broadcaster’s intervention comes after he said on Wednesday that humans have “overrun the planet” in a trailer for a forthcoming film on his career as a naturalist.

“We have been putting things off year after year. We have been raising targets and saying: ‘Oh well, if we do it within the next 20 years,’” Sir David told the BBC.

“The moment of crisis has come. We can no longer prevaricate.”

He called for governments to act urgently on the scientific consensus around the risks posed by another decade of inaction, saying: “We have to change, not by appeals to different kinds of optimism but to deliberate, compelling life or death decisions.”

Sir David said he had noted a “huge change” in public opinion on the issue, especially among young people, which he hoped would force governments to take action.

A recent Ipsos MORI poll showed 85 per cent of British adults are concerned about climate change – up from 60 per cent in 2013 – with 52 per cent very concerned.

“This is not just having nice little debates and arguments and then coming away with a compromise. This is an urgent problem that has to be solved.”

The broadcaster added that, with every year that passes, it becomes “more and more difficult” to take effective action against the damaging effects of climate change.

However, despite public interest, the response on the issue from the international community has been slow in recent years.

The United Nations’ climate talks last year ended as a missed chance, according to the UN secretary general, because solutions for key questions were delayed due to disagreements between participants.

“The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis,” Antonio Guterres said.

 Delegates ultimately agreed to put improved carbon cutting plans on the table for the conference in Glasgow this year.

Natural disasters such as the ongoing Australian wildfire crisis have shown the disastrous consequences of climate change, according to scientists.

Richard Betts, a professor of geography at University of Exeter, warned on Tuesday that the devastating crisis provides a sign of the future if action is not taken.

“We are seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions in a 3C world,” Mr Betts said.

“It tells us what the future world might look like. This really brings home what climate change means.”

A landmark UN report last year warned that as many as one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction in the coming decades due to human activity.

The Independent

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