Daily Mail

‘Col­lapse of civil­i­sa­tion is on the hori­zon’

At­ten­bor­ough’s chill­ing warn­ing to world lead­ers at cli­mate change sum­mit

- By Colin Fer­nan­dez En­vi­ron­ment Cor­re­spon­dent Overpopulation · Climate Change · Disasters · Ecology · Politics · Social Issues · Society · United Nations · Poland · United Kingdom · Paris · Donald Trump · United States of America · Beijing · World Bank · Katowice · World Bank Group

Sir David At­ten­bor­ough warned yes­ter­day that the ‘ col­lapse of our civil­i­sa­tions is on the hori­zon’ if gov­ern­ments do not agree to dras­ti­cally cut green­house gas emis­sions.

De­liv­er­ing the United Na­tions’ first ever ‘Peo­ple’s Seat’ speech, he said that the Earth faces its ‘great­est threat in thou­sands of years’.

The 92-year-old broad­caster and nat­u­ral­ist made his pow­er­ful and pas­sion­ate plea for ac­tion to po­lit­i­cal lead­ers at the UN’s cli­mate change sum­mit in Poland.

‘right now, we are fac­ing a man-made dis­as­ter of global scale, our great­est threat in thou­sands of years – cli­mate change,’ Sir David told the con­fer­ence.

‘if we don’t take ac­tion, the col­lapse of our civil­i­sa­tions and the ex­tinc­tion of much of the nat­u­ral world is on the hori­zon.’

The UN’s Peo­ple’s Seat ini­tia­tive is de­signed to give or­di­nary peo­ple a voice at the in­ter­na­tional talks in­volv­ing of­fi­cials from around 200 na­tions, in­clud­ing the UK. Be­fore the event in Ka­tow­ice, which is set to last two weeks, Sir David asked for peo­ple around the world to send him their mes­sages for the UN’s power-bro­kers.

He said: ‘The world’s peo­ple have spo­ken, their mes­sage is clear: time is run­ning out, they want you, the de­ci­sion-mak­ers, to act now. They’re sup­port­ing you in mak­ing tough de­ci­sions but they’re also will­ing to make sac­ri­fices in their daily lives.’

Sir David added: ‘Lead­ers of the world, you must lead, the con­tin­u­a­tion of our civil­i­sa­tions and the nat­u­ral world upon which we de­pend is in your hands.’

Del­e­gates will dis­cuss how to meet the tar­get of lim­it­ing global warm­ing to be­tween 1.5 and 2.0 de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els.

This was set by the UN’s Paris agree­ment on cli­mate change in 2015, but crit­ics have warned about the lack of ac­tion since then. rep­re­sen­ta­tives of some of the most pow­er­ful coun­tries and biggest pol­luters will be ab­sent from the con­fer­ence.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced last year that the US was aban­don­ing the Paris ac­cord, while China was not ex­pected to send its top politi­cians ei­ther.

Fol­low­ing his speech, Sir David said the US had been left ‘out on a limb’ by Mr Trump’s at­ti­tude to cli­mate change be­cause nearly ev­ery other gov­ern­ment, as well as an an­gry younger gen­er­a­tion, were de­mand­ing ac­tion. ‘i can only hope that, for what­ever rea­son, what­ever mech­a­nism, that that will change in the United States,’ the Dy­nas­ties pre­sen­ter said. ‘ it shouldn’t af­fect us and the whole of the rest of the world.’

Sir David said he be­lieved he had been cho­sen to launch the Peo­ple’s Seat as he has wit­nessed dev­as­tat­ing change dur­ing his lengthy broad­cast­ing ca­reer.

‘if you’re a nat­u­ral­ist or if you’re not a nat­u­ral­ist, they are the most stun­ning things in the nat­u­ral world,’ he said. ‘it’s a most mag­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion of life ... and you go to a reef which has been bleached, and it’s gone. All you see is that the co­ral is dead.’

He added that younger gen­er­a­tions are now de­mand­ing change. ‘We have all been liv­ing be­yond our means,’ he said. ‘it’s a per­fectly sim­ple thing. We knew not what we did. We have let down the young ... and they know it, and they are an­gry.’

United Na­tions sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res warned ne­go­tia­tors that the world was ‘in deep trou­ble’ with cli­mate change. The talks aim to in­crease the pres­sure on coun­tries to com­mit to do­ing more to curb their green­house gas emis­sions by 2020. Poorer coun­tries are seek­ing more money to help them de­velop with­out in­creas­ing emis­sions.

The World Bank has an­nounced that it is dou­bling in­vest­ments in cli­mate ac­tion, with £157bil­lion for 2021-2025, in­clud­ing £39bil­lion to help coun­tries adapt to the im­pacts of global warm­ing.

 ??  ?? Pas­sion: Sir David at the UN talks yes­ter­day
Pas­sion: Sir David at the UN talks yes­ter­day

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