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Sir David Attenborough issues dire warning about climate change

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 3/12/2018 Victoria Ward

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Sir David Attenborough has warned that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity and could lead to the collapse of civilisations.

The stark message was issued to world leaders at United Nations climate talks in Katowice, Poland, who were urged to take action to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

Sir David said the world was facing its "greatest threat in thousands of years” and that time was running out.

He warned: “If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.

David Attenborough wearing a suit and tie: Sir David Attenborough at the opening of the Climate Change Conference in Katowice - NurPhoto © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB Sir David Attenborough at the opening of the Climate Change Conference in Katowice - NurPhoto "The world's people have spoken, their message is clear, time is running out, they want you, the decision-makers, to act now.

"They're supporting you in making tough decisions but they're also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives."

The UN has launched an "ActNow.bot" which helps people discover simple everyday actions they can take to tackle climate change.

Sir David said: "The people have spoken: leaders of the world, you must lead, the continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend are in your hands."

a man holding a sign: Sir David Attenborough at the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 © REUTERS/Kacper Pempel Sir David Attenborough at the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned negotiators at the meeting that the world was "in deep trouble" with climate change.

"Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it's too late,” he said.

"For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life and death."

He also said that "climate action is not just the right thing to do, it makes social and economic sense", pointing to how action to cut emissions will curb air pollution deaths and generate millions of jobs and trillions of dollars.

The speeches come after four former presidents of the annual UN climate talks warned the "world is at a crossroads" and decisive action in the next two years would be crucial to tackle the threat of climate change.

Negotiators will hear details of a global review on climate change-tackling efforts, and the pressure is on to work towards increasing commitments from countries by 2020.

The talks also aim to draw up the rulebook for making the Paris Agreement to curb global warming, secured three years ago, operational.

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