Sir David Attenborough has addressed the UN’s ‘Conference of Parties 24’ (COP24) to raise concerns on climate change. The 94-year-old naturalist, environmentalist and broadcaster had been invited to represent the “People’s Seat,” a link between the public and policy-makers at the meeting (BBC).
“The continuation of our civilizations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands,” he told those present at the event’s opening, including the 29 heads of state and government due to give statements at the opening of the meeting (BBC). “Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late” (SBS).
This edition of the COP – held in Katowice, Poland – will see nations finalize the guidelines for the “Paris Agreement” created at COP21 in the French city in 2015 (Paris Agreement). United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the current 13-day meeting “the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris Agreement was signed” (CNN). The agreement sees participating nations work to “combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future” and entered into force on November 4, 2016, with 184 participating parties (UNFCCC: What is the Paris Agreement; Ratification status).
David Attenborough has been accused of not using his position of trust and authority more, however he has often shown that he is prepared to speak out. George Monbiot recently claimed that he “betrayed the living world he loves” (The Guardian). However Attenborough has spoken out about issues such as threats to the Great Barrier Reef and urged action on plastic in the sea (The Guardian).