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COP 26: Sir David Attenborough delivers stark “act now” warning on climate change

"If we don't act now, it will be too late. We have to do it now"

By Nick Reilly

Sir David Attenborough poses live
Sir David Attenborough (Picture: Press)

Sir David Attenborough has warned that world leaders must act immediately on climate change, or “it’ll be too late” to reverse the devastating effects on the planet.

The legendary presenter warned that it would be “really catastrophic” to not act at once, just days before world leaders convene in Glasgow to discuss climate change at the COP26 conference.

The two-week summit in the Scottish capital has been described as a last-ditch attempt to tackle climate change before it is too late, amid fears that a global temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees could spark irreversible damage.

Attenborough told the BBC science editor David Shukman: “”Every month that passes, it becomes more and more incontrovertible, the changes to the planet that we are responsible for that are having these devastating effects.”

He added: “If we don’t act now, it will be too late. We have to do it now.”

The veteran broadcaster also said that western superpowers have a “moral responsibility” to provide support for refugees whose homes have been destroyed by climate change.

“We caused it – our kind of industrialisation is one of the major factors in producing this change in climate. So we have a moral responsibility,” he said.

“Even if we didn’t cause it, we would have a moral responsibility to do something about thousands of men, women and children who’ve lost everything, everything.

“Can we just say goodbye and say this is no business of ours?”

Speaking of his hopes for COP26, Attenborough added: “For the first time people around the world will hear the arguments as to what we should do, the analyses as to what the problems are and what the solutions are.”

“Those two things bring me some hope.”

Last week, a massive leak of documents also revealed how countries are trying to lobby the United Nations to minimise their findings in the upcoming UN climate report. 

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are working towards their upcoming Sixth Assessment Report, which will have a significant impact on the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow, as well as the new targets governments will have to meet. 

Over 30,000 files have now revealed how the likes of Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia have tried to urge members of the IPCC to minimise the need for nations to move away from the use of fossil fuels.

The damning documents, obtained by Greenpeace, also show a number of attempts to downplay fossil fuel impact, including by Brazil and Argentina, who have allegedly encouraged the deletion of messages promoting the climate benefits of a plant-based diets. Brazil and Argentina are two of the world’s biggest producers of beef.

Better-known as the COP26 summit, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties will be held in Glasgow between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12 2021. The purpose of the conference is to push governments forward in meeting the targets set at the Paris Agreement and to encourage international cooperation on meeting those targets.