Sir David Attenborough admonishing world leaders at COP26 to act sounds like narrating wildlife documentary

"Our motivation should not be fear, but hope," he said.

Zi Shan Kow | November 03, 2021, 11:55 AM

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English broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough gave a speech on the opening day of COP26, a two-week climate summit attended by over 120 world leaders.

"No nation has completed its development"

In his speech, Attenborough emphasised the unequal effects of climate change.

"This story is one of inequality as well as instability," he stated.

He said that "those who've done the least to cause this problem are being the hardest hit", and some of its impacts are already "unavoidable".

Attenborough highlighted that young people alive today might be the ones most affected by climate change, not "some imagined future generation".

He told delegates that to ensure that "none are left behind", and that they "must use this opportunity to create a more equal world".

"As we work to build a better world, we must acknowledge no nation has completed its development because no advanced nation is yet sustainable," said Attenborough.

"Turn this tragedy into a triumph"

"We need to rewrite our story," he said.

As the "smartest species", he refused to have humanity be "doomed by that all too-human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals".

Instead, Attenborough affirmed that humans are "the greatest problem solvers to have ever existed on Earth".

"Our motivation should not be fear, but hope," said Attenborough.

Hope for recovery

The 95-year-old urged the world leaders to work together to fix the climate problem.

"It comes down to this, the people alive now are the generation to come, will look at this conference and consider one thing: Did that number stop rising and start to drop as a result of commitments made here?

There's every reason to believe that the answer can be yes. [...]

If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet. Surely working together, we are powerful enough to save it.

In my lifetime, I've witnessed a terrible decline. In your lifetimes, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery. That desperate hope ladies and gentleman, delegates, excellencies, is why the world is looking to you and why you are here. Thank you."

More about COP26

COP26 is deemed as one of humanity's last chances to avert a climate disaster.

The conference will see world leaders convening to update their emission pledges made with the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, the world needs to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050.

Top image by Karwai Tang/UK Government.