Famed naturalist and documentary maker Sir David Attenborough has named Australia as one of the countries most affected by climate change and pointed to ‘powerful people’ who remained sceptics.
The 93-year-old told was addressing the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee in the UK.
“We cannot be radical enough with dealing with these issues,” he said.
“If the world climate change goes on as it is we are going to be facing huge problems with immigration. Large parts of Africa will become even less inhabitable than they are now and there is going to be major upsets in the balance between our national boundaries.”
Attenborough cited his visits to the Great Barrier Reef as evidence of climate change inaction.
“I will never forget diving on the 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.
“30 to 40 per cent of all oceanic fish throughout the seas depend upon the coral reefs at some time of their lives.”
Asked about claims from climate change deniers that people were “overpanicking”, he singled out Australia and the US.
“I am sorry that there are people who are in power, and internationally, notably of course: the United States but also in Australia — which is extraordinary because Australia is already facing having to deal with some of the most extreme manifestations of climate change,” he said.
“Both Australia and America — those voices are clearly heard — and one hopes that the electorate will actually respond to those.”
But he also defended debate.
“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, that’s very important.”