Sir David has been named the "people's advocate" at the COP26 summit, which is to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. As part of the role, the 95 year-old will address political leaders about why action is needed to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
In a short video message, Attenborough said: "I am greatly honoured to be given the role of people's advocate. There could not be a more important moment that we should have international agreement. The epidemic has shown us how crucial it is to find agreement among nations if we are to solve such worldwide problems. But the problems that await us within the next five to 10 years are even greater.”
The COP26 summit is organised by the United Nations and will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that was agreed in 1994. Its ultimate goal is to achieve the stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
COP26 president-designate, Alok Sharma, said: "Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity and the stakes could not be higher for our planet. The next decade will be make, or break, for cutting global emissions sufficiently to avoid the worst effects of climate change. That is why I am delighted to be working with Sir David, a hero for our country and our planet, to inspire action ahead of COP26."
Attenborough is also set to speak at the G7 leader’s summit in Cornwall on 11-13 June 2021. A national treasure and a champion of environmental issues, Attenborough began his career with the BBC in 1952 and has been involved in landmark nature series ever since. His contemporary TV projects include the popular shows Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Our Planet.