Naturalist and TV presenter David Attenborough used his speech at the climate summit COP24 to urge governments and countries to take action on behalf of the world’s people.
Attenborough spoke as the representative for a new campaign called The People’s Seat Initiative, run by the UN, which collects videos, experiences and polls to enable people around the world to put forward their experience and action on climate change and be part of the dialogue.
Speaking at COP24 in Katowice last week, Attenborough said: “The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision makers, to act now.
“Right now, we’re facing a manmade disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years, climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations, and the extinction of much of the natural world, is on the horizon.”
The UN has launched a new ActNow.bot through Facebook Messenger, which it said is designed to fuel climate change understanding and encourage personal action. Once the user clicks Get Started, the bot asks questions, sends links and records when a climate action is completed.
“This new social media tool, a Facebook Messenger bot, will help people learn about activities to reduce their carbon footprint, and show – and share with friends – how they are making an impact. We all need to do things differently,” said UN Under-Secretary-General of global communications, Alison Smale.
The UN’s new bot wasn’t the only people-focused initiative unveiled at the summit – conservation group WWF adapted its logo from the distinctive black and white panda to feature world leaders, celebrities, alongside the message ‘you are an endangered species’.
The two-week COP24 summit aims to pin down a detailed set of rules about how global decisionmakers will achieve the targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, and limit global temperature rises to 1.5 rather than 2 degrees.
A recent report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that ‘unprecedented’ action on climate change was required if the 1.5 degree limit is to be met. Despite commissioning the report, the COP24 summit has been blocked from officially welcoming the findings after Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait objected, saying it would be enough to simply ‘note’ its results.