David Attenborough, the renowned British broadcaster and natural historian, is set to play a pivotal role in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference as he rallies world leaders to get behind efforts to tackle global warming.

The 95-year-old — famous for hosting wildlife documentaries such as Planet Earth and Our Planet — has been named people’s advocate for the event also known as COP26 and which is set for Scotland in November.


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Attenborough — equally at home in the British hinterland as the rainforests of Papua New Guinea or Africa’s Savannah — will also play host at the near fortnight-long event to be staged in Glasgow.

In the lead-up to COP26, Attenborough will also meet with world leaders at various international events, including at the next G7 summit in Cornwall, England in June.

Announcing the tireless environmental campaigner as host, the UK’s Cabinet Office said Attenborough “will put forward the compelling case to global leaders, key decision makers and the public for why climate action matters, to evidence the progress under way, and to highlight the actions decision makers will need to take ahead of and at COP26”.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the affable nonagenarian “has already inspired millions of people in the UK and around the world with his passion and knowledge to act on climate change and protect the planet for future generations”.

COP26 role: David Attenborough to be a host at Glasgow climate event Photo: REUTERS/SCANPIX

COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma added: “Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity and the stakes could not be higher for our planet.

“The next decade will be make, or break, for cutting global emissions sufficiently to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

Attenborough said “there could not be a more important moment” than now for international agreement on tackling climate change.

“The [coronavirus] 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 five to 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 now faces.”