Sir David Attenborough warns of "extinction of the natural world" in UN speech

Sir David Attenborough has warned world leaders of "the extinction of the natural world" in an address he gave at the United Nations climate conference in Poland.

The famous environmentalist and BBC broadcaster was asked to speak at the summit to address delegates from 200 nations, who were present to negotiate the 2015 Paris climate deal.

In his rousing speech, he told world leaders that they must lead the way when it comes to climate change. "Right now, we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change. The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands," he said.

Attenborough continued: "the world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now."


A video montage was shown to delegates showing individuals discussing the devastating effects climate change was having on the earth, including a woman standing next to her house which had been recently destroyed by wildfires.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is "off course" in its plans to tackle climate change. He said: "we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough".

After the damning UN Report published earlier this year, there was a call on governments across the world to take action on climate change on a large scale. However, the mood in Poland for making progress was low. The United States is not expected to send any political presence to the talks, as they plan to leave the UN, and China is also not planning on sending a representative.

There are extra roadblocks in the way of the climate question, with host nation Poland remaining committed to coal, and hoping for a 'just transition' to other energy sources so as to not heavily impact the communities who depend solely on the fossil fuel. In addition, recent protests in Paris regarding an increase in fuel tax have increased tension around climate change in France.

To help the climate action movement, the United Nations has set a goal to raise $100 billion every year from 2020, with the World Bank Group announcing they will contribute an extra $200 billion over five years from 2020 onwards.

The climate conference will continue for the next two weeks.


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