Sir David Attenborough’s new BBC documentary on climate change has been praised by TV critics. Climate Change – The Facts, shown on BBC One on Thursday, was a “rousing call to arms”, said the Guardian. In a four-star review, the Times said the veteran presenter “took a sterner tone… as though his patience was nearly spent”.
Sir David, 92, has called global warming “our greatest threat in thousands of years”. In its review, The Arts Desk said: “Devastating footage of last year’s climactic upheavals makes surreal viewing.
“While Earth has survived radical climactic changes and regenerated following mass extinctions, it’s not the destruction of Earth that we are facing, it’s the destruction of our familiar, natural world and our uniquely rich human culture.”
“In the 20 years since I first started talking about the impact of climate change on our world, conditions have changed far faster than I ever imagined,” Sir David said in the film.
“It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”
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In a glowing review, the Telegraph called the title of the documentary “robust” and praised the use of Sir David in the central role. “At a time when public debate seems to be getting ever more hysterical,” it said, “it’s good to be presented with something you can trust. And we all trust Attenborough.”
“Sir David Attenborough might as well be narrating a horror film,” wrote the FT. “A panoply of profs line up to explain that the science on climate change is now unequivocal, never mind the brief clip of Donald Trump prating: ‘It’s a hoax, it’s a hoax, OK’.”
But it added: “Fortunately for our nerves the last 20 minutes focuses on what needs to be – and can be – done on an international and personal level.” Sir David’s concern over the impacts of climate change has become a major focus for the naturalist in recent years and has been a theme of his Our Planet series on Netflix.
The new BBC programme has a strong emphasis on hope with Sir David arguing that if dramatic action is taken over the next decade, then the world can keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5C this century, limiting the scale of the damage. The programme – which is now available on the BBC iPlayer – was broadcast as Extinction Rebellion protesters continues to cause disruption in parts of central London.