David Attenborough slams Australia for lack of climate action

David Attenborough slams Australia for lack of climate action.jpg

Sir David Attenborough has taken aim at “powerful” figures in Australia who are climate change deniers.

Invited to speak in front of the UK Parliament’s British, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Wednesday, Sir David also slammed the United States over their unwillingness to address climate change.

“I am sorry that there are people who are in power… Notably, of course, [in] the United States but also in Australia, which is extraordinary because Australia is already facing having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change,” said Sir David.

In his speech, the 93-year-old environmentalist and documentary-maker highlighted the effects of climate change on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

"I will never forget diving on the reef about 10 years ago and suddenly seeing that instead of this multitude of wonderful forms of life, that it was stark white. It had bleached white because of the rising temperatures and the increasing acidity of the sea," he said of his return to the reef since first diving there in the 1950s.

Sir David said the reef’s system was “crucial” to the world.

“Because 30 to 40 per cent of all oceanic fish throughout the seas depend upon the coral reefs at some time of their lives,” he said.

“If you wipe that out you wipe out whole areas of the ocean.”

When it comes to climate change action, Sir David said he thought authorities “cannot be radical enough in dealing with these issues”.

"If the world climate change goes on as it is we are going to be facing huge problems with immigration,” Sir David said.

“Large parts of Africa will become even less inhabitable than they are now and there is going to be major upsets in the balance between our national boundaries.

“The question is what is practically possible? How can we take the electorate with us in dealing with these things because it costs money.”

“Dealing with these things means we’ve got to change our lifestyle,” he said.

Sir David said that young people have already been galvanised into action as they recognise it’s their future at stake.

“I’m okay for the next decade and all of us here are okay because we won’t face the problems that are coming,” he said.

“But the problems in another 20-30 years are really major problems that are going to cause great social unrest and great changes in the way that we live, in what we eat and how we live… it’s going to happen.”

Sir David took to the stage at the recently held Glastonbury Festival to thank festivalgoers for doing their bit to reduce plastic pollution.

He also revealed that the BBC’s new natural history series ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ would begin “later on this year”.