Beloved naturalist Sir David Attenborough has visited the White House for a television interview with the US President on climate change, after a personal invitation from Barack Obama.
It has been revealed that the discussion happened in May and it was surprisingly Obama who asked the questions of the broadcaster, not the other way around.
The pair discussed the future of the planet and Obama confessed to Attenborough: “I’ve been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time … you’ve been a great educator as well as a great naturalist.”
Despite Obama conducting the interview, the 89-year-old challenges the US President on why he can’t tackle climate change with the same backing previous presidents gave to putting a man on the moon.
Obama replied: “We’re not moving as fast as we need to … what I know from watching your programs is these ecosystems are all inter-connected and if just one country is doing the right thing but other countries are not then we’re not going to solve the problem.”
The President then asked: “Do you get a sense that we’re going to get ahead of these problems?”
“If we find ways of generating and storing power from renewable resources we will make the problem with oil and coal and other carbon problems disappear,” Attenborough said.
“The United Nations tells us that over 50 per cent of the human population on the planet are urbanised, which means that to some degree they are cut off from the natural world.
“They don’t understand about the workings of the natural world, they won’t take the trouble to protect it.”
Obama reveals how his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia and his parental roots in Kenya, along with his travel have informed his passion for the environment.
The legendary naturalist and television icon says it was a surprise to be invited to the White House and that he found the President to be a gracious host.
The full interview will be simultaneously broadcast on the BBC through Britain and America this weekend.