Pope Francis and TV naturalist David Attenborough have become the latest to add their voice to the growing calls for climate action, as the world gears up to a pivotal year for climate change.
The broadcaster, who made his name presenting documentaries that explore the natural world, warned global leaders are in denial about the dangers posed by climate change.
He told SkyNews:
Wherever you look there are huge risks. The awful thing is that people in authority and power deny that, when the evidence is overwhelming and they deny it because it’s easier to deny it – much easier to deny it’s a problem and say ‘we don’t care’.
Attenborough warned that those who hold the power must wield it in the fight against climate change as he emphasised the scale of the challenge ahead.
We won’t do enough and no-one can do enough because it’s a very major serious problem facing humanity but at the same time it would be silly to minimise the size of the problem. Never in the history of humanity in the last 10 million years have all human beings got together to face one danger that threatens us – never.
It’s a big ask but the penalty of not taking notice is huge.
Pope Francis also made the headlines last week with reports he is expected to urge the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics to join the climate fights, warning that acting on climate change is “essential to the faith”.
The Pope is scheduled to visit the Philippines in a few weeks times, and is expected to follow his visit to the climate vulnerable country with the release of an “encyclical” – a church document – calling for measures to address climate change.
The long-rumour encyclical will be released to the world’s 5,000 priests and 400,000 priests urging action.
The Pope’s involvement is expected to add to the political pressure for an agreement on climate change and comes at a pivotal year for climate politics.
Later this year, a crucial UN climate summit will be held, at which world leaders have pledged to agree to tough cuts in their carbon emissions, ensuring global warming does not exceed the internationally agreed 2C danger threshold.
With just a year to finalise such a deal, all eyes are now on governments to ensure they step-up and agree a deal that will signal the end of the fossil fuel era, and put leaders on the right side of history at this crucial crossroads.