"The moment of crisis has come." David Attenborough's urgent warning for the world.


“We’ve been putting things off, year after year.”

Even the first line of David Attenborough’s climate change warning hits home.

We in Australia are feeling this particularly, given the current devastation we’re facing. Dozens of human lives, millions of hectares of bushland and more than a billion animals – all wiped out in a horrific five months of unrelenting bushfires.

“The moment of crisis has come,” said Attenborough in a BBC interview overnight.

Here’s a snippet. Post continues after video.

Video via BBC

“We’ve been raising targets and saying ‘Oh well, if we do it within the next 20 years.’

“[But] we can no longer prevaricate, we can’t go on saying, ‘But there is hope and we’ll leave it till next year.’ We have to change,” he said, adding that optimism and appeal just isn’t enough and “deliberate compelling life or death decisions” are what is needed.

Noting the destruction being caused by Australia’s wave of bushfires, Attenborough criticised Canberra’s approach to climate change, saying the government’s support for coal mines showed the world it did not care about the environment.


“As I speak, south east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing,” Attenborough told the BBC adding that it was “palpable nonsense” for some politicians and commentators to suggest our fires weren’t due to the heating of the planet.

australian bushfires
We've been battling bushfires for five months, and they're unlike anything we've seen before. Image: Getty.

The British naturalist also called on China in particular to reduce its carbon emissions, saying he thinks other countries will follow if China leads.


The 93-year-old has spent seven decades traversing the planet, documenting the intricacies of the natural world. He has witnessed firsthand the knock-on effects of collapsing ecosystems and climate change.

In fact, he's previously called it "our greatest threat in thousands of years."

In September, he condemned the Australian government, telling Triple J‘s Hack that it seemed to him that previous Australian governments had simply been “saying all the right things” on the issue.

“You are the keepers of an extraordinary section of the surface of this planet, including the Barrier Reef, and what you say, what you do, really, really matters.

“And when you’ve been upstanding and talking what I see is the truth about what we’re doing to the natural world, and then you suddenly say, ‘No it doesn’t matter … it doesn’t matter how much coal we burn … we don’t give a damn what it does to the rest of the world.’ What do you say?” he said.

The Quicky spoke to an expert from CSIRO about our future. Post continues after podcast.

A few months prior, Attenborough again singled out Australia during a July 2019 address to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee in British parliament.

“I will never forget diving on the [Great Barrier] 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.


While he argued that the “voice of disbelief” on climate change should not be stamped out altogether, he pointed to Australia and the US as places where climate change sceptics held positions of considerable power.

david attenborough climate
Attenborough has been watching our planet his whole career, and has been warning against the effects of climate change for years. Image: Getty.

“Australia is already facing, having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change,” he said.

Sir Attenborough's most recent comments and warnings on the BBC, are to launch a year of special coverage on the subject of climate change by the broadcaster.

He noted in the interview that public opinion is changing, with "particularly young people" seeing the problems ahead.

But as he pointed out, this is not about "playing games" and having "nice little debates," it's urgent and needs to be solved.

"We know how to do it - that's the paradoxical thing - that we are refusing to take steps that we know have to be taken," a visibly frustrated Attenborough told his interviewer.

Attenborough is trying to add his voice to the conversation ahead of a UN conference on climate change, COP 26, in Glasgow in November 2020.

The most recent talks - in Madrid last month - were branded a disappointment by the UN Secretary-General.

Unfortunately one of those reasons was Australia -  we once again dodged our commitments to the climate emergency.

In 2020, it's time to do better.

- With AAP.

Feature image: BBC.

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