Sir David Attenborough today called on world leaders to listen to the science as he celebrated the debut of the polar research ship that was named after him.
The naturalist, 95, posed with the crew on the deck of the RSS Sir David Attenborough, formerly known as Boaty McBoatFace, in Greenwich on Thursday.
The RSS Sir David Attenborough is currently moored in London ahead of its first Antarctic mission later this year.
The broadcaster pointed to how quickly world leaders acted in response to evidence from British scientists in the 1980s of the damage to the ozone layer, agreeing the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFCs just two years later.
He said: ‘We all know the magnitude of the dangers facing us in the immediate future.
‘Would it not be marvellous to suppose that as a consequence of our discoveries, and science’s discoveries, the nations of the world joined together and actually did something in this coming Cop?’
Sir David Attenborough, 95, posed with the crew on the deck of the RSS Sir David Attenborough in Greenwich on Thursday. Pictured, with Boaty McBoatface – a submersible named after a larger ship which was given the moniker after the result of a 2016 online poll
In a speech, Sir David (pictured) called on world leaders meeting for the Cop26 climate talks to listen to the science
He said he hoped the conference, which will be held in Glasgow from October 31, would take action. He wants nations to get together and listen to the science of what has to be done to avoid climate change.
Sir David said he was very proud and could think of no greater compliment than to be associated with the vessel.
A three-day public celebration is being held from today on board and in the National Maritime Museum, with 15 interactive exhibitions held following the ship’s successful sea trials around the UK.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: ‘With COP26 only days away, it’s incredible to see the new RRS Sir David Attenborough and hear about the world-leading and ground-breaking research it will complete in the Antarctic and Artic regions.’
Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said science was needed to treat the planet.
The RSS Sir David Attenborough is currently moored in London ahead of its first Antarctic mission later this year. Pictured, a member of crew walks aboard
The ship has been named after the popular naturalist and broadcaster. It has completed successful UK-based sea missions
Passersby stop to look at the ship as it docked in Greenwich ahead of its trip to Antartica later this year
The broadcaster (pictured) pointed to how quickly world leaders acted in response to evidence from British scientists in the 1980s of the damage to the ozone layer, agreeing the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFCs just two years later
He added: ‘Through research, we can accelerate the technological, social and economic change needed to reach net zero and this wonderful ship and its scientists will play a significant role in furthering our understanding of the effects of climate change.’
Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair NERC, said: ‘The visit of our new ship the RRS David Attenborough to London, ahead of her maiden voyage to Antarctica, underlines our commitment to making our science accessible to everyone and provides an opportunity to reinforce the role and impact of outstanding research and innovation facilities to tackling complex climate challenges.’
Professor Dame Jane Francis, director of British Antarctic Survey, said the ship would take scientists into the heart of the polar seas. From there experts will try to find out how drastically the polar oceans and ice have been affected by humans.
Sir Patrick Vallance (pictured), Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said science was needed to treat the planet
Britain’s new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough will make a special visit to Greenwich from October 28-30
A safety ring has the name of the ship, RSS Sir David Attenborough, written on it
The RSS Sir David Attenborough crew pose with a device named Boaty McBoatface
Workers inside the ship as the boat was docked in London’s Greenwich ahead of a three-day stay on Thursday
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation said: ‘The RRS Sir David Attenborough is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world and will transform how ship-borne science is conducted in the polar regions.
‘It will provide scientists with state-of-the-art facilities to undertake crucial research into the impacts of global changes on our oceans, marine biodiversity and climate, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of polar science.’
Paddy Rodgers, Director of Royal Museum’s Greenwich, said: ‘Countless voyages of exploration started here in Greenwich, the home of time and navigation, and the RRS Sir David Attenborough and Ice Worlds Festival will start two more such voyages this weekend.
‘The ship will play an important part in increasing our understanding of the Polar Regions and climate change.’