Sir David Attenborough Set to Present BBC Documentary on Climate Change
The show, to be titled Climate Change—The Facts, will be a 60 minute documentary that will air in the spring, The Guardian reported. The news comes little more than a year after Attenborough helped raise the alarm about plastic pollution as part of his Blue Planet II BBC series.
"We're running out of time but there's still hope." Sir David Attenborough will present a landmark climate change… https://t.co/GQjN6U4QgY— BBC One (@BBC One)1553292000.0
"There is a real hunger from audiences to find out more about climate change and understand the facts," BBC's Director of Content Charlotte Moore told BBC News. "We have a trusted guide in Sir David Attenborough, who will be speaking to the challenging issues that it raises, and present an engaging and informative look at one of the biggest issues of our time."
The documentary will show footage of the impacts of climate change and include interviews with climate scientists and meteorologists, who will explain how global warming has already influenced extreme weather events like the California wildfires of November 2018.
The 92-year-old Attenborough, who made his first nature documentary series for TV 50 years ago, has increasingly spoken out on climate issues. He delivered the "People's Address" at the UN climate talks in December of last year and spoke with Britain's Prince William about the issue in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this January.
In that interview, Prince William asked Attenborough why he had held back from speaking out on environmental issues for much of his public career.
Attenborough responded that when he started his career, he didn't think there was anyone "who thought that there was a danger that we might annihilate part of the natural world."
"Now, of course, we are only to well aware that the whole of the natural world is at our disposal, as it were," he said in the interview. "We can do things accidentally that exterminate a whole area of the natural world and the species that live within it."
The climate change documentary is part of a BBC series called Our Planet Matters that kicked off with Blue Planet Live Sunday night.
Julian Hector, the head of BBC's Natural History Unit, which has been the force behind most of Attenborough's shows, said that climate change had changed both the tone of the unit's documentaries and the practicalities of filming.
"Not a single development goes on in the Natural History Unit where we're not talking about a conservation element or the difficulty of filming because of climate change," Hector said. "This nervousness about the state of the natural world is omnipresent."
In one example, Hector talked about filming in Kenya for the program Dynasties. Hector said in the past it was easier to predict what would happen on location, but parts of Kenya has been impacted by drought for many years, which makes it harder for wildlife to find food.
"Climate change is increasingly the backdrop to our films, and so the causes of it are worth exploring," Hector said.
Hector said a shift in tone from wonder at the natural world to concern about its survival started with Blue Planet II. That program featured a heartbreaking segment on the fate of albatross chicks who ingest plastic.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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