"If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."
- Renowned English broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough delivered a stark warning about the future of our planet during the UN Climate Change Summit in Poland.
- Attenborough warned that the world's survival depends on swift action to prevent climate change.
- "If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon," he said.
- Attenborough's speech comes at a crossroad for global climate action. Over the weekend, 19 G20 member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord — except for the US, which has cast doubt on climate science assessments.
- But the human-led impact of climate change is already being observed around the world — from extreme weather to devastating fires.
Renowned English broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough delivered a stark warning about the future of our planet during the UN Climate Change Summit in Poland.
Attenborough, known for hosting nature broadcasts including the popular BBC series "Planet Earth," was chosen for the UN's "people's seat," representing those populations most affected by climate change. The summit hoped to spur global action after the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Speaking in Katowice to delegations from nearly 200 nations, Attenborough warned that the world's existence depends on taking swift action to prevent climate change.
"Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change," he said.
"If we don’t take action," he continued, "the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."
He implored governments of the world to take meaningful action steps to prevent our planet's destruction.
"The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out," he said. "They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands."
Governments around the world are taking aim at combatting climate change. Over the weekend, 19 G20 member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord – except for the US, which pulled out of the landmark agreement last year.
The US has previously pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and to provide billions in aid for poorer countries by 2020.
President Trump last week said he "doesn't believe" his own administration's report on the economic impact of climate change, which projected a hit in the hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to climate change.
But scientists have observed that the human-led impact of climate change is already pretty identifiable around the world.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the 20 warmest years ever recorded were in the past 22 years. The four warmest have been the past four years. And the UN has warned that action needs to increase drastically in order to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 Celsius or risk facing catastrophic droughts, flooding, and heatwaves.
Extreme heat has certainly become more frequent across the globe, shattering records and causing devastating fires across major cities. In July, Greece declared a state of emergency as massive fires wiped out entire towns. California experienced its deadliest fire in history this month.
And researchers have also found that climate change is contributing to the destruction of some of the world's most vulnerable natural habitats and is compounding natural disasters, like hurricanes, by increasing rainfall.