Climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years that could lead to the extinction of “much of the natural world,” Sir David Attenborough told the opening ceremony of the UN-sponsored climate talks in Poland.
The 92 year old said it’s already a matter of “life and death” for many countries.
“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change”
“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
He said that leaders of the world “must lead” and that “the continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend, is in your hands.”
“Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late.”
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg — who helped inspire last week’s school strike in protest against climate change inaction in Australia — said that world leaders who fail to attend the climate summit are “very irresponsible”.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is not attending, nor is US President Donald Trump who has pulled out of the Paris agreement. Morrison will instead send environment minister Melissa Price.
“I think that in the future we will look back and we will either laugh at them or we will hate them,” Thunberg told reporters.
”I will not beg the world’s leaders for change. I will tell them that change is coming whether they like it or not.”
CNN quotes my speech. https://t.co/WKL83M4g0w
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 3, 2018
The meeting in the city of Katowice, called COP24, will be the most crucial since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, coming months after the IPCC report on the desperate need to limit global temperatures to a rise of 1.5 degrees, requiring an “urgent transformation”.
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reached a seven year high at the end of the financial year, according to the latest quarterly government figures released late last week. A seperate report released last week by UN Environment lists Australia as a G20 country that is unlikely to meet its 2030 carbon emissions reduction target — which we’d committed to reduce by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels, under the Paris Agreement.
Attenborough has a “people’s seat” at the conference, meaning he provides a link between policy-makers and the public during the event.
The climate talks will begin on Sunday, with hope that “rules” for taking action can be established.