Guardian ‘Continuation of civilisation is in your hands,’ Attenborough tells world leaders – video
The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon, Sir David Attenborough has told the UN climate change summit in Poland. The naturalist was chosen to represent the world’s people in addressing delegates of almost 200 nations who are in Katowice to negotiate how to turn pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate deal into reality.
As part of the UN’s people’s seat initiative, messages were gathered from all over the world to inform Attenborough’s address on Monday. “Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change,” he said. “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
“Do you not see what is going on around you?” asks one young man in a video message played as part of a montage to the delegates. “We are already seeing increased impacts of climate change in China,” says a young woman. Another woman, standing outside a building burned down by a wildfire, says: “This used to be my home.” Attenborough said: “The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands.” Click here to watch his speech & read the commentary
Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt
Rising sea levels could become overwhelming sooner than previously believed, according to the authors of the most comprehensive study yet of the accelerating ice melt in Greenland.
Run-off from this vast northern ice sheet – currently the biggest single source of meltwater adding to the volume of the world’s oceans – is 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming, says the paper, published in Nature on Wednesday. Almost all of the increase has occurred in the past two decades – a jolt upwards after several centuries of relative stability. This suggests the ice sheet becomes more sensitive as temperatures go up. “Greenland ice is melting more in recent decades than at any point in at least the last four centuries, and probably more than at any time in the last seven to eight millennia,” said the lead author Luke Trusel, of Rowan University. “We demonstrate that Greenland ice is more sensitive to warming today than in the past – it responds non-linearly due to positive feedbacks inherent to the system. Warming means more today than it did even just a few decades ago.” Click here to read more