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"Extraordinary": Why Sir David Attenborough has just taken aim at Australia

"Extraordinary": Why Sir David Attenborough has just taken aim at Australia

David Attenborough has slammed Australia for its lack of action on climate change, describing the country as an “extraordinary” example where the people in power remained climate change deniers.

Speaking before the UK parliament’s business, energy and industrial strategy committee, the British naturalist and broadcaster singled out Australia and the US when he was asked about claims from climate change deniers that people were “over-panicking” about the threats of climate change.

“I am sorry that there are people who are in power … notably, of course, [in] the United States but also in Australia [who are climate change deniers], which is extraordinary because Australia is already facing having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change,” said Attenborough.

“Both [in] Australia and America, those voices are clearly heard – and one hopes that the electorate will actually respond to those.”

The 93-year-old also recalled his surprise over the condition of Great Barrier Reef in his visit 10 years ago. 

“I will never forget diving on the reef … and suddenly seeing, instead of this multitude of wonderful forms and life, that it was stark white,” he said.

“It had bleached white because of the rising temperatures and the increasing acidity of the sea.”

Attenborough said the reefs were “crucial” to the world as it acted as a “nursery” for marine wildlife. 

“Because 30 to 40 per cent of all oceanic fish throughout the seas depend upon the coral reefs at some time of their lives,” he said.

“If you wipe that out you wipe out whole areas of the ocean.”

He said while authorities “cannot be radical enough in dealing with these issues”, the sceptics should not be “stamped on”.

“It’s very, very important that voices of dissent should have a place where they’re heard and the arguments between the two sides can be worked out in public, and compared and analysed in public,” he said.

Attenborough said he was optimistic that changes to tackle the climate crisis could be made as young people are “already making themselves and their voices very, very clear” on the matter.

“I’m OK, and all of us here are OK, because we don’t face the problems that are coming,” he said. “But the problems in the next 30 years are really major problems that are going to cause social unrest, and great changes in the way that we live and what we eat. It’s going to happen.”