Famed naturalist and conservation advocate Sir David Attenborough has publicly slammed powerful figures in Australia for their slow-moving approach and scepticism towards climate change.
The world-renowned broadcaster, who has narrated dozens of nature and environmental documentaries throughout his career, opened up about his views on climate change as he gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions on Tuesday.
“I am sorry that there are such people in power internationally, notably in the United States but also in Australia,” he said.
“That is extraordinary because Australia is already facing having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change. Both in Australia and America those voices are clearly heard and one hopes that the electorate will respond to those.”
Attenborough also named Australia as one of the countries worst affected by climate change.
“I will never forget diving on a reef about 10 years ago now and suddenly seeing that instead of this multitude of wonderful forms of life, it was stark white. It had bleached white because of the rising temperatures and the increasing acidity of the sea.”
He then claimed humans will soon feel the troubling effects of climate change, adding: “All of us here are okay because we won’t face the problems that are coming. But the problems in the next 20, 30 years are really major problems that will cause great social unrest and changes in the way that we live, in what we eat and so on. That is going to happen.”
These latest comments come after Attenborough’s new program Climate Change – The Facts aired on the BBC earlier this year. The documentary 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.
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