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Attenborough: 'The moment of crisis has come'

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(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH NATURALIST AND BROADCASTER, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, SAYING:

"The moment of crisis has come."

The legendary British naturalist David Attenborough, the host of so many nature and climate documentaries, is warning that decades of discussion about climate change has come to a head - because of a perceived lack of action.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH NATURALIST AND BROADCASTER, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, SAYING:

"As I speak, southeast Australia is on fire. Thousands of people are being affected. What more evidence do we need?"

The 93-year-old says the international community has been putting things off "year after year."

Now Australian bushfires are proof, he says, that the world can no longer avoid the truth.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH NATURALIST AND BROADCASTER, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, SAYING:

"Why? Because the temperatures of the earth are increasing. That is a major international catastrophe (...) This is an urgent problem that has to be solved. And what is more, we know how to do it. That's the paradoxical thing - that we're refusing to take steps that we know have to be taken. And every year that passes makes those steps more, more difficult to achieve."

Attenborough is calling on the British government to lead the way ahead of a U.N. climate summit in Glasgow later this year by setting "realistic, achievable" targets. But he said China could be crucial in getting other countries to "fall in line".

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH NATURALIST AND BROADCASTER, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, SAYING:

"If they're going to take major steps to control their carbon emissions, that is a huge advance."

Attenborough was speaking before a gathering of the global elite in the Swiss ski resort of Davos next week at which sustainability will be the main theme.

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