The UK has named Sir David Attenborough as People’s Advocate of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is scheduled to take place in November in Glasgow. The eminent broadcaster and natural historian has been tasked with convincing global leaders, key decision makers and the public on why climate action matters, as well as show the progress underway, and highlight the immediate action required to be taken by stakeholders ahead of and at COP26.
In a COP26’s video posted after his appointment, Attenborough said, “There could not be a more important moment that we should have international agreements. The epidemic has shown us how crucial it is to find agreement among nations if we are to solve such worldwide problems. But the problems that await us within the next 5-10 years are even greater. It is crucial that these meetings in Glasgow, COP26, have success, and that at last the nations will come together to solve the crippling problems that the world, the globe, now faces.”
The renowned conservationist will address world leaders and the public at the Glasgow Summit, which is being called as the most important global meet on climate since COP21 in Paris in 2015. The key goal set by the Paris Agreement was to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees celsius. The goal of COP26 will be to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In the run up to the UN climate change summit in November, Attenborough will address world leaders at several key events over the period of next six months, including the G7 Summit in Cornwall next month. His focus will be to place climate change and environment protection at the top of their agenda.
As hosts of COP26, the U.K. says it is leading by example by investing in a green recovery from the pandemic, which creates sustainable jobs and addresses the urgent and linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity loss. “Sir David Attenborough has already inspired millions of people in the U.K. and around the world with his passion and knowledge to act on climate change and protect the planet for future generations,” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “There is no better person to build momentum for further change as we approach the COP26 climate summit in November. I am hugely grateful to Sir David for agreeing to be our People’s Advocate.”
Will Attenborough Put the Spotlight on Animal Agriculture at COP26?
Despite all discussions around climate change, there has been no reference to animal agriculture, which is in fact, one of the main drivers of this change in global climate and warming of the Earth.
Although not a vegan, Attenborough has time and again used his voice to raise awareness around plant-based living and its impact in reducing environmental damage. He has urged people to switch to a plant-based diet and reduce meat intake to prevent global warming and loss of biodiversity. In his Netflix documentary ‘A Life On Our Planet’, he said, “We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters. If we had a mostly plant-based diet, we could increase the yield of the land; the wilder and more diverse, the more effective. We must grow palm and soya on deforested lands. Nature is our biggest ally.”
Today, global livestock farming and increase in the demand for meat and dairy are one of the biggest culprits behind global warming. A recent report published by the Journal of Ecological Society, said that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 87 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that animal agriculture is the single largest source of methane emissions.
The unsustainable methods of meat and dairy production are also the leading cause behind widespread deforestation of forest land to create pasture lands for livestock. This directly threatens the extinction of many wild species by destroying their habitat and disturbing their food chain.
We hope Attenborough gives voice to this issue which needs urgent attention of world leaders and the public alike.