Attenborough warns leaders are in denial regarding climate change

World leaders are in denial about the dangers posed by climate change, despite compelling evidence about its risks, warns English broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Leaders must step up their actions before it is too late, Sir David insisted.

People in power need to use that power. Sir David said in an interview with Sky News:

“Wherever you look there are huge risks. The awful thing is that people in authority and power deny that, when the evidence is overwhelming and they deny it because it’s easier to deny it – much easier to deny it’s a problem and say ‘we don’t care’.”

Nobody is doing enough, he explained, and nobody can do enough because it is a very major problem we face “but at the same time it would be silly to minimize the size of the problem,” he added.

World leaders, who have pledged to commit to reduce carbon emissions so that global warming is limited to a 2C increase, next meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Le Bourget site in France from November 30th to December 11th, 2015.

Sir David Attenborough

Global leaders must take the climate threat much more seriously, Sir David warns.

Despite evidence that leaders are negotiating measures, Sir David is worried that they are not acknowledging the scale of the problem and are not taking the matter as seriously as they should.

Sir David said:

“Never in the history of humanity in the last 10 million years have all human beings got together to face one danger that threatens us – never. It’s a big ask, but the penalty of not taking any notice is huge. It’s desperately difficult, the dangers are apparent to anybody.”

Compelling evidence of climate change is mounting

The number of studies pointing to the consequences of climate change are growing. The UK’s Environment Agency in a soon-to-be published report predicts that up to 7,000 homes across the country worth over £1bn will slide into the sea due to coastal erosion cause by rising seas over the next 100 years. Eight hundred of those properties are expected to go within the next twenty years.

The Agency does not believe it is worth carrying out flood defense or coastal reinforcement measures because they would cost far more than £1bn.

Scientists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland wrote in the Royal Society’s journal Interface that mussel shells are becoming more brittle because climate change is making the oceans more acidic. By the end of this century, the researchers forecast that the pH of oceans will have fallen to 7.7 from their current level (average) of 8 today.

Another study, led by scientists from the University at Buffalo, suggests that the Greenland Ice sheet might be losing ice more rapidly in the near future than previous estimates. Greenland’s ice sheet covers about 1,710,000 square kilometers, it is the second largest ice body globally after the Antarctic Ice sheet. If all of it were to melt sea levels would rise by about 20 feet.

A team from the University of California and NASA warned that West Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate.