Sir David Attenborough is revered around the world for his expertise on wildlife and the environment, but his new BBC documentary on climate change has shown a clear divide in the way people around the world view global warming.
Attenborough’s new program Climate Change – The Facts aired on the BBC in the UK on Thursday and featured interviews with scientists and environmental experts who all warned of the bleak future that lay ahead for the planet if immediate action wasn’t taken to slow the effects of global warming.
Introducing the program, Attenborough said he was alarmed at the rate climate change has progressed since he first began talking about the issue 20 years ago.
“It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies,” he said.
The planet has been getting increasingly hotter over the past few decades with 20 of the hottest years on record occurring in the past 22 years.
Experts in the BBC documentary explained that the world is now around 1°C warmer than before the industrial revolution began and that this is having a devastating effect in Antarctica and the Arctic, where ice is melting rapidly, leading to rising sea levels and the deaths of polar animals.
The program claimed that if nothing is done to slow the rate of climate change, humans will also feel the effects soon enough and that people living in low-lying areas will be forced to move to higher ground.
According to BBC News, Colette Pichon Battle, a director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy told the program that the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, US, is already under threat and that rising water is forcing residents from their homes.
The BBC posted a clip from the program on its Facebook page on Thursday, which quickly garnered attention around the world and stirred debate among environmentalists and climate change deniers.
While many praised Attenborough for using his profile to raise awareness of the issue, others claimed global warming is a hoax.
“Climate change is a myth created by scientists and environmentalists. It’s all about funding and $$$. Climate has been changing and will continue so for the next billion years,” one person commented on the video.
“Climate change has been happening since the beginning of time, it was not created by man and it has not hurt anyone,” said another.
There were plenty of people who agreed with Attenborough’s views on the matter though.
“I’ve watched David Attenborough’s documentaries for over 60 years and at all times they have told the truth about the natural world. There is no need to doubt his message which we ignore at our peril,” one person wrote.
Another added: “Thank you David Attenborough for telling it like it is. People who deny there is global warming are ignoring the scientific evidence.”