On Tuesday, British naturalist David Attenborough cautioned world leaders that if a United Nations climate conference in Scotland fails, it will be too late to address climate change, and that richer countries had a moral responsibility to act.
The United Nations COP26 climate summit, which starts on October 31 in Glasgow, has been dubbed “the last big chance to halt rising temperatures,” with Britain hoping to persuade countries to accept stricter climate targets.
Attenborough, 95, told the BBC that failing to support poorer nations would be “truly terrible,” and that time was running out.
“Every day that passes without us doing something about it is a day that has been wasted,” he remarked. “It will be too late if we don’t act now.”
The United Nations warned on Monday that greenhouse gas concentrations had reached new highs last year and that the world was “far off track” in terms of limiting global warming.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “touch and go” as to whether COP26 would succeed in securing the requirements needed to limit the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Attenborough said leading nations had a duty to help poorer countries because industrialization had been one of the major factors in driving climate change. He warned that whole parts of Africa would become unlivable.
Raging fires in Australia and the United States were still being dismissed by some as one-off incidents, he said, even though extreme weather events had shown climate scientists were correct to have been warning about rising temperatures in the last 20 years.