David Attenborough weighs in on U.S. politicians avoiding climate change issues

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David Attenborough weighs in on U.S. politicians avoiding climate change issues

It would take a terrible example of extreme weather to wake people up to the dangers of global warming. That’s according to Sir David Attenborough, one of the world’s leading naturalists.

The Guardian newspaper reports that Attenborough has also accused U.S. politicians of ducking the climate change issue because of the economic cost of tackling it.

Attenborough told the Guardian: “[It] does worry me that most powerful nation in the world, North America, denies what the rest of us can see very clearly [on climate change]. I don’t know what you do about that. It’s easier to deny.”

He made these comments a few days following the U.S. presidential debates – when climate change failed to get a mention in the event in 24 years.

The Guardian asked the 86-year-old what was needed to wake people up. The former BBC broadcaster famous for series such as Life and Planet Earth said: “Disaster. It’s a terrible thing to say, isn’t it? Even disaster doesn’t do it. There have been disasters in North America, with hurricanes and floods, yet still people deny and say ‘oh, it has nothing to do with climate change.’ It visibly has got [something] to do with climate change.”

But some U.S. politicians found it easier to deny the science on climate change than take action, he went on to tell the Guardian. That’s because the consequence of recognizing the science on man-made climate change “means a huge section from the national budget will be spent in order to deal with it, plenty of politicians will be happy to say ‘don’t worry about that, we’re not going to increase your taxes.'”

Despite record-breaking heat in the U.S. and a drought that has devastated crops in the Midwest, the issue of climate change failed to get a mention in the country’s presidential debates.

Attenborough explained to the Guardian that he thought the U.S.’s attitude towards climate change and the environment was not just because of politics, but because of the country’s history. “[It’s] because they’re a pioneer country. There has been the wild west, the western frontier … that’s still there, you see it in the arms business, the right for everyone to bear arms. It’s part of the pioneer stuff that you’ve [Americans] grown up with.”

The solution, he told the newspaper, was to raise living standards and increase democracy in developing countries. “The only way I can think of it [tackling population] is by giving women the rights to control their own bodies and control how many children they have.

In every circumstance where women have that right, where they have the vote, where they are proper medical facilities, where they are literate, where they are given the choice, the birth rate falls,” he said. “That is a good start, if that could be spread.”


Madison is a journalist/media consultant currently working in Toronto.

  • mememine69

    Science has betrayed its own warnings of crisis:
    The millions of people in the global scientific community that are not reacting to the world walking away from their crisis “warnings”, proves climate change was just an exaggeration.
    *In all of the debates so far, Obama hasn’t planned to mention climate change once.
    *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.
    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations.
    *Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.
    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
    Science needs to step up to the plate and be honest with us.

    • gabby815

      Science is continually trying to make people change and listen, but no-one is listening and nobody wants to because they are too lazy, selfish and don’t want to change the way they live their lives. The only people you hear speaking are the media and politicians. If you were part of the scientific community, like I am, you would really that we are all screaming but are being silenced and put on mute by those with money and more power. Dont let them continue to fool you, as they clearly already are.

  • reece

    At this very moment the U.S. is experiencing the largest and most dangerous “super storm” ever recorded. The type of storm predicted by climatologists since the 1990’s that would develop due to climate change. Mainly warming of oceans and atmosphere due to green house gases. We have one candidate, the idiot, who says “I like coal”. And the other, afraid to mention climate change due to the reactions of undecided voters.
    We even have an organization funded by a super PAC called “Americans for prosperity” that goes around and puts on seminars trying to debunk climate change as a political scare tactic of the democrats. They parade layman as men of science.
    They won’t believe in climate change until their children die from air that they cannot breathe, or drown in an ocean that used to be 10 miles away.