World-renowned natural historian and British broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, has pulled no punches in his latest documentary, stating categorically that humanity is on the precipice of “irreversible damage to the natural world, and the collapse of our societies.”
As the BBC’s Matt McGrath put it, “Attenborough has issued his strongest statement yet on the threat posed to the world by climate change,” in his latest documentary: Climate Change - The Facts.
That strong statement included a clear observation from Attenborough’s life, namely that “in the 20 years since I first started talking about the impact of climate change on our world, conditions have changed far faster than I ever imagined.”
“It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”
The scientific consensus is that as the planet warms up, the severity of weather patterns is set to cause catastrophic damage, globally. The world is also 1 degree C warmer than before the industrial revolution, according to climate researchers. The BBC production unit interviewed several experts on the matter, including Dr Peter Stott of the Met Office.
“What we have seen is the steady and unremitting temperature trend. Twenty of the warmest years on record have all occurred in the last 22 years.”
Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds said that “in the last year we’ve had a global assessment of ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland and they tell us that things are worse than we’d expected,”
“The Greenland ice sheet is melting, it’s lost four trillion tonnes of ice and it’s losing five times as much today as it was 25 years ago.”
92-year-old Attenborough is calling for action to be taken on climate change, calling for humanity to limit the predicted rise in temperatures - and the subsequent jump in sea levels, drought and severity of natural disasters - to 1.5-degree celsius.
Attenborough and the program showcase new technologies that remove and bury carbon dioxide underground, which are becoming increasingly viable as technology continues to improve.
“We are running out of time, but there is still hope,” he says.
“I believe that if we better understand the threat we face the most likely it is we can avoid such a catastrophic future.”