Attenborough draws attention to GBR at climate change summit
FAMED naturalist Sir David Attenborough will draw world attention to the plight of the Great Barrier Reef this weekend at an exclusive event during the Paris climate summit.
In the early hours of Sunday 6 December he will take part in a panel discussion in Paris on how to ensure a future for coral reefs which are threatened by climate change.
He will be joined by Sir Richard Branson, Dr Sylvia Earle, Director General of WWF-International Marco Lambertini, and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland.
The discussion will be followed by a preview screening of Sir David's highly anticipated BBC series - Great Barrier Reef, which was filmed late last year.
The documentary will feature the reef near Heron Island, and other parts of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
While being interviewed by US President Barack Obama, Sir David raised the threat to the reef from climate change.
"The real problem on the reef is the global one which is what is happening with the increase in acidification and the rise in the ocean temperature and the Australians have done research on coral now and they know for sure it will kill coral," he said.
"… I believe that if we find ways of generating and storing power from renewable resources, we will make the problem with oil and coal and other carbon problems disappear because economically we will wish to use these other methods. And if we do that, a huge step will have been taken towards solving the problems of the earth".
The panel discussion comes at crucial time for the Reef as world leaders gather in Paris to thrash out the next agreement for limiting the impact of global warming.
Scientists rank climate change as the biggest threat to the Reef and Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says a world coral bleaching event now underway could cause widespread damage to the Reef in 2016.
WWF-Australia, organisers of the event, said nations needed to make strong commitments to help save coral reefs.
"Coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef provide over half a billion people with food and livelihoods. They also support over a million species including 1 in every 4 fish species.
"To save coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems leaders must make strong commitments to reduce emissions.
"Clean, renewable energy is winning the race against dirty, polluting fossil fuels like coal and gas. The momentum behind renewable energy is unstoppable, and we need world leaders to set policies to accelerate it if we are to protect the world's coral reefs," he said.