Sir David Attenborough has two reasons for hope at Cop26

He sees hope in how 'humanity communicates with itself' and nations working together

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Documentary-maker and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has told of two reasons for hope going into the Cop26 environmental summit.

Attenborough said that for the first time in history, all nations should be on the same side to fight climate change and modern communications meant anyone, anywhere could see the problems and take part in solving them.

He was speaking at Chatham House, in London, where he was presented with the Centenary Lifetime Award, one of three honours being issued for the institution's 100th anniversary.

“Until now international relations have been dominated by argument, by disagreement over points of view," Attenborough said.

"Right now, the major problems that face the nations of the world are the same for all countries.

“The world is being destroyed. We are doing it, there is no doubt about that, so for the first time, the issues of the world should not be argued.

“On the contrary, they should be standing shoulder to shoulder, identifying and solving the problems. It is for all the nations’ advantage that we should agree to take action. That is an extraordinary change.”

He said his second reason for hope was how “humanity communicates with itself”, allowing the world to see the problems and inspiring young people to demand action.

“For the first time it is possible for people to speak today and be heard, within minutes, across the world," Attenborough said.

“This is not just television. It about the whole change of communications between the people of the world.

“For the first time it is possible to see the dimensions of the problem, to see the pictures of devastation or of hope.

“For the first time people around the world can hear the arguments and the solutions. Those two things give me some hope.”

He called November's Cop26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, a meeting “of the haves and the have nots”.

Rising global temperatures can increase the risk of diseases such as malaria, which flourishes in hot countries.

Scientists also believe climate change will lead to more frequent natural disasters such as heatwaves, droughts and floods.

A target to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times was set in the Paris Agreement six years ago.

The Glasgow summit is aimed at implementing that goal with more ambitious steps for nations trying to reach net-zero emissions, and for financing the projects.

Chatham House has also named its two other Centenary award winners, who will pick up the honours in the coming weeks.

Greta Thunberg has been given the Centenary Change-makers Award and Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, will be presented with the Centenary Diversity Champion Award.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 12:14 PM