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Key Words: David Attenborough calls climate change ‘a crime’ committed against the planet

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Naturalist and “Planet Earth” narrator Sir David Attenborough says that his new Netflix film isn’t just a documentary — it’s a witness statement. 

“A crime has been committed,” said Attenborough, 95, in a “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper on Sunday. “And it so happens that, I’m of such an age, that I was able to see it beginning.” 


“Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together.” 


— David Attenborough 

In his upcoming Netflix
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film, “A Life On Our Planet,” the legendary BBC broadcaster warns that human beings have overrun the world and sent the Earth into a “decline.”

Attenborough said that he doesn’t relish being the harbinger of doom and gloom, however. “It isn’t that I enjoy saying, ‘Doom, doom, doom.’ On the contrary, I’d much rather enjoy, take thrill, excitement, pleasure, joy, joy, joy, joy. But if you’ve got any sense of responsibility, you can’t do that,” he said. 

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And Attenborough revealed that he was once a climate change skeptic, himself. But he had a change of heart after seeing the work of scientists who have been studying changing climate around the world, as well as rising global temperatures

Plus, his trips across the globe for his various nature series have shown him the impact of climate change firsthand. He cited the decline of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as an example. A recent report found that the world’s largest coral reef has lost more than half of its corals since 1995 as a result of climate change warming the ocean.

“We went on this reef, which I knew. And it was like a cemetery. Because all the corals had died,” said Attenborough. “They died because of a rise in temperature and acidity.” 

Here’s a clip of the interview that was getting shared on Twitter
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on Monday morning, or you can catch the full segment here

Climate change and its potential risks on lives and livelihoods around the world has increasingly become a talking point, such as the potential for it to fuel another above-normal hurricane season this year. On Saturday, the Group of Seven (aka G-7) leading nations backed requiring companies to report how climate change is affecting their business. And President Joe Biden recently tasked banking, housing and agriculture regulators to use climate risk in their supervision of major industries, such as deciding federal contracts and in lending federal funds. 

Yet climate-related risks are not playing a major role in the setting of Federal Reserve interest-rate policy at the moment, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last Friday. But the Fed is exploring climate-related implications for its responsibilities on bank supervision and financial stability.

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