In a recent interview behind the scenes of his new landmark series, “The Green Planet,” Sir David Attenborough discussed the upcoming climate summit and the risks of a hotter world. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported that it is “unequivocal” that human activity is driving global warming. It was also noted that the threshold of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, agreed on by 195 countries under the 2015 Paris Agreement, was already very close — and that urgent action needs to be taken to prevent exceeding this threshold.
As Sir Attenborough stated, “what climate scientists have been saying for 20 years, and that we have been reporting upon, you and I both, is the case — we were not causing false alarms.” He called on everyone to act before it’s too late, warning that “every day that goes by in which we don’t do something about it is a day wasted.”
Made famous for his animal and plant life BBC documentaries, Sir Attenborough is a central figure in bringing environmental issues to the eyes of the public. Whilst his early work focussed on the wonders of the natural world, his more recent work has involved vocal support of environmental concerns.
He has been a leading advocate for issues of biodiversity, limiting population growth, renewable energy, reducing meat consumption, and maintaining certain areas for natural preservation purposes. He described his most recent documentary, “A Life on Our Planet,” released by Netflix in 2020, as a personal “witness statement” of his life and the future.
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At the moment, Sir Attenborough is working on a new series, “The Green Planet,” which will be aired on BBC1 in 2022. The programme promises to be “the first immersive portrayal of the unseen…world of plants.” Whilst the documentary series will not be aired globally until next year, it will premiere on the eve of the COP26 conference in a few days’ time. This alone signifies the naturalist’s huge influence globally as a figurehead for environmental advocacy.
Pre-sales flourish for BBC Studios landmark Natural History series The Green Planet.@BBCStudios announces pre-sales of its Natural History Unit’s stunning new landmark series, The Green Planet, presented by Sir David Attenborough.https://t.co/cAz1CuFV1e pic.twitter.com/OSVK4TIik5
— BBC Studios Press Office (@BBCStudiosPress) October 7, 2021
Rich nations must take responsibility
In Attenborough’s recent warning statement just three days before world leaders gather at the Glasgow Climate Summit, he commented that the richest nations globally have a “moral responsibility” to assist the world’s poorest nations. He highlighted that it would be “catastrophic” if the problems that developing countries are facing are ignored. Richer nations are working on plans for adapting to the environmental impacts of climate change. These plans involve billion-dollar funding programmes. For example, the UK environmental Agency report includes a £5.2 billion programme of new flood and coastal defences over the next 6 years.
Developing countries have accused the world’s richest nations of failing to take their burden of climate change, with poorer nations much more exposed to severe environmental issues such as flooding and drought. Attenborough projects that “whole parts of Africa are likely to be unliveable” because of advancing deserts and increasing heat and drought, suggesting that people in countries being affected will “simply need to move away.”
It is hugely important that countries in the developed world take responsibility for the severe situations that developing countries are already facing. A long-standing promise from richer countries to smaller countries for $100bn a year in climate finance is yet to be fulfilled.
"Responsibility rests with each and every country … because on climate, the world will succeed, or fail as one"
— Yesterday #COP26 President-Designate @AlokSharma_RDG called for global #ClimateAction during his speech in Paris.
— COP26 (@COP26) October 13, 2021
It remains to be seen whether COP26 will result in richer countries taking on this responsibility. But the issue Attenborough raises is set to be a major focus of the upcoming discussions.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Sir David Attenborough attends the world premiere of ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’, Leicester Square, London. Featured Photo Credit: Bruce Detorres.