Attenborough’s warning came as the World Health Organization said in a new report that meeting the commitments of the Paris climate agreement could save millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars by 2050. Speaking from Katowice, Poland, on Wednesday, the WHO’s María Neira said some 7 million people currently die each year from air pollution alone.
María Neira: “If we want to protect health, if we want to make sure that we will reduce dramatically those 7 million deaths that are occurring every year due to exposure to air pollution, we need to accelerate this energy transition. We know that there will be a transition, but we want to tell countries: More you delay this transition, more you will be responsible for the number of millions of deaths that are occurring every year.”
The WHO’s warning came as the Trump administration is expected to announce plans today to roll back Obama-era regulations on coal, paving the way for a new generation of dirty power plants. Democracy Now! will broadcast all next week from the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland.