Climate change will cause the collapse of civilisations if governments do not agree to drastically cut greenhouse gases, Sir David Attenborough has warned in a stark speech to world leaders.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a UN summit on climate change, the legendary broadcaster, 92, warned that the extinction of much of the natural world is ‘on the horizon’.
Delivering the first ever ‘People’s Seat’ speech, Sir David made a powerful and passionate plea for action, warning that Earth faces its ‘greatest threat in thousands of years’.
He was speaking in Katowice, Poland, calling for leaders and decision-makers to take charge on driving down greenhouse gas emissions.
Sir David said: ‘Our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change.
‘If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.
‘The world’s people have spoken, their message is clear, time is running out, they want you, the decision-makers, to act now.’
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, who also gave a speech, said the world is ‘way off course’ to prevent catastrophic climate change and that ‘we are in trouble, deep trouble’.
Sir David was speaking on behalf of the UN’s ‘People’s Seat’ initiative to give ordinary people a voice at the international talks by gathering their thoughts, ideas and concerns through social media and polling in the past two weeks.
His strongly worded speech to the congregation continued: ‘Time is running out. [The people] want you, the decision makers, to act now.
‘They are behind you, along with civil society represented here today.
‘Supporting you in making tough decisions but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives.’
The UN has launched an ‘ActNow.bot’ which helps people discover simple everyday actions they can take to tackle climate change.
‘The people have spoken: leaders of the world, you must lead, the continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend are in your hands.’
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned negotiators at the meeting that the world was ‘in deep trouble’ with climate change.
‘Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it’s too late.
‘For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life and death.’
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