G7: David Attenborough calls on leaders to show 'global will' to tackle climate change

12 June 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 13 June 2021, 16:27

By Will Taylor

World leaders have been told to demonstrate the "global will" to tackle climate change by Sir David Attenborough at the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors were told by the veteran naturalist and campaigner that the scientific response to the Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated what was possible when there was a "clear and urgent" goal.

Sir David told the leaders gathered in Carbis Bay: "The scientific collaboration on Covid treatment and vaccines showed just how much we can achieve together when the goal is clear and urgent.

"We know in detail what is happening to our planet. And we know all of the things we need to do during this decade.

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"Tackling climate change is now as much a political and communications challenge as it is a scientific or technological one.

"We have the skills to address it in time. All we need is the global will to do so."

It comes as Boris Johnson pledged a £500 million "blue planet fund" to safeguard the world's oceans and marine life and trumpeting of a "green industrial revolution".

A "build back better for the world" plan announced on Sunday will bring together G7 countries to develop an offer for high-quality financing for vital infrastructure, from railways in Africa to wind farms in Asia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was urging leaders to drive a "global green industrial revolution" to help developing nations reap the benefits of clean economic growth.

The G7 will also endorse a nature compact, aimed at halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 - including supporting the global target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and oceans by the end of the decade.

The nations want to allow developing countries to access better and faster finance for projects while accelerating the adoption of renewable energy.

Greenpeace UK Executive Director John Sauven said: "While commitments to provide more support to developing nations are absolutely vital, until they cough up the cash, we're taking nothing for granted.

"The dismal track record of rich nations to honour commitments made over a decade ago on international climate finance, alongside the UK's decision to slash its aid budget, makes it hard to take the so-called 'build back better for the world' plan with anything more than a pinch of salt."

The G7 countries have committed to halving emissions by 2030, relative to 2010, with the UK promising to cut them to at least 58%.

Plans to cut the use of harmful energy sources and to stop biodiversity loss by the end of the decade are also to be set out.

The blue planet fund will help countries like Ghana and Indonesia to stop unsustainable fishing and restore coastal ecosystems.

It will last for at least five years.