By Joe Harker
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the United Nations climate talks in Poland, Sir David Attenborough said climate change is the biggest threat the human race has faced for thousands of years and called on world leaders to act before it was too late. He said: "Right now, we are facing a man-made 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 world's people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now."
A UN report warns that the world has little more than 12 years to tackle climate change before it suffers irreversible damage. If sufficient action has not been taken by 2030 the risk of drought, floods and extreme heat will increase and affect hundreds of millions of people.
Another report suggests global efforts to stop climate change need to be tripled to have sufficient effect and save the planet. The report warned of a "tremendous gap between words and deeds" as leaders meet often to make climate agreements but little actual progress is made. We've only got one planet to live on so it would be quite prudent not to destroy it through our own excesses.
Writing for the Financial Times, Simon Kuper warns that people in the richest countries will only start demanding action en masse when it starts to directly affect them, which will be too late. He suggests that those who want to save the planet from man made climate change need to work out how to sell it to the mega rich. Kuper suggests selling the idea as "green growth" rather than an attempt to save the world.
For all our progress humans can be a ridiculously insular and self serving species, willing to exploit the world for profit without realising that this exploitation will likely render all the profit meaningless in the long run. Going green should be sold as the new direction for the economy, the next gravy train for everyone to jump on with the added side effect of saving the planet. Perhaps the only way some of the most influential people will help stop climate change is if they can be convinced there's profit in it.
Some world leaders aren't sold on the idea that climate change will be so bad for the world. US president Donald Trump is skeptical of reports warning that immediate and decisive action must be taken, but climate change doesn't run on belief and will continue to happen whether he agrees with it or not.