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Younger people ‘angry’ over climate betrayal: Attenborough

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Renowned naturalist says older generations have let the world down by 'messing up the planet'

KATOWICE, POLAND: Older generations have "messed up the planet", letting down younger people, who are "angry" about it and want it to stop, British naturalist David Attenborough said on Monday.

The 92-year-old, who has fronted popular TV shows documenting nature and the environment, said on the sidelines of United Nations climate talks in Poland that betrayal of the young generation left him with a sense of "misery".

(Young people) ... know that the world is warming, and science is making it perfectly clear, and they know who is responsible – and that’s me and my predecessors. 92-year-old British naturalist David Attenborough (above, right), speaking on the sidelines of UN climate talks

"I have done my best to speak the truth as I see it, but (young people) ... know that the world is warming, and science is making it perfectly clear, and they know who is responsible - and that is me and my predecessors, and going back even further than that," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Even though most world leaders have backed the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, damage to coral reefs, glaciers and forests is still occurring, Attenborough added.

In the three years since governments adopted the Paris climate accord, the political will to fight climate change has faded, and countries are not delivering on their commitments, UN chief Antonio Guterres said.

What is happening is "worse than predictions", he said, with seas rising faster, ice melting more rapidly, and disasters becoming more dramatic with "terrible consequences".

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish 15-year-old who inspired a global movement of children skipping school to call for action on climate change, met Mr Guterres, telling him world leaders had ignored "countless people" at UN climate summits for 25 years urging them to curb planet-warming emissions.

"I will not beg world leaders to care for our future," she said. "I will instead let them know change is coming whether they like it or not. Our political leaders have failed us."

Ms Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the World Bank, said delegates should keep pictures of their children and grandchildren in front of them when negotiating.

Attenborough also presented a video of clips uploaded to social media by people in the past two weeks. It shows the effects people are suffering due to climate change, from worsening wildfires to storms.

"If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon," Attenborough warned in the first People's Seat Address at UN climate talks. - REUTERS