Sir Ranulph Fiennes on climate change and exploration

As the UK’s first guest editor Sir Ranulph Fiennes was interviewed on advice for President Donald Trump, how to tackle plastic waste and his career highlight to date.

By Kieren Puffett
Published 14 Jan 2018, 13:56 GMT
Sir Ranulph Fiennes holds numerous records for endurance and has been described as the "world's greatest ...
Sir Ranulph Fiennes holds numerous records for endurance and has been described as the "world's greatest living explorer" by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1984.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the UK’s first guest editor and to mark the occasion he was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. The interview was marked by Sir Ranulph characteristically direct answers, particularly when it came to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change deal.

“Someone needs to get up his backside and make him realise that a lot of people are suffering,” said Sir Ranulph. “An awful lot of people are highly worried because the earlier agreements were actually showing some signs of getting everything down below the 2 degrees [Paris Deal was to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels].”

Sir Ranulph was asked if he would like to meet the President of the United States if he were to come to the UK on an official visit.  

“I would love to meet him in a very polite manner in order to say to him he must stop delaying what we humans do to try to stop the process - the climate warming process which we are causing,” revealed Sir Ranulph.  

Dealing with the plastic issue

Sir Ranulph also had his own suggestions and ideas for how we can tackle plastic pollution, a growing problem both on land and in sea.

“Well, I listen to all the scientists about the solutions some of which are pretty complex and the only things that came out of it in London was the more simple end of the scale,” Sir Ranulph told the Today programme.

“[Let’s] persuade people and the Tescos and other Aldis and all the rest of it, to go further than just paying for your [plastic] bag thing, which has helped a lot, but to stop plastic throw aways, make people if they want water they’ve got to produce their own permanent bottle rather than buy plastic bottles and then they have in the shop some big container from which they can put the drinking water or sparkling water into.” 

The greatest sand desert in the world is aptly named covering 225,000 square miles and is also known as the 'empty quarter'.

Highlight of his exploring career

At 73 years of age, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has completed some of the greatest expeditions of the age and holds numerous records including being the oldest Briton to climb Mount Everest at the age of 65, and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. No wonder the Guinness Book of Records described him as the world’s greatest living explorer. So which expedition does he regard as his greatest highlight?

“I suppose the greatest place of all was the Rub'al Khali in the greatest sand desert in the world,” said Sir Ranulph. “My wife and I in 1968 started looking for the lost Frankincense city of the Queen of Sheba and it took us a long time. We had eight major expeditions over 26 years before we did find the lost city at a place called Shisr on the Oman side of the Saudi border.”

In the January 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine, Sir Ranulph Fiennes talks about the Quest for New Horizons, what keeps him exploring at the age of 73 and where in the world that is left to be discovered. 

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