Climate change is 'most important issue we face — United Nations chief

05 December, 2018, 21:45 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Sir David Attenborough speaking at to delegates at the UN climate change summit in Poland.       Screenshot  The Guardian

Per BBC, the beloved British naturalist used his time at the podium to issue a dire warning to humanity regarding climate change: "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

One key objective of the summit will be for nations to agree on the "Paris Rulebook" that is aimed at guiding nations to fulfil their promised reductions and to make those cuts more transparent and comparable.

"Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: Climate change", Attenborough said as the worldwide climate conference got underway with talks on how countries will implement the 2015 Paris Agreement limiting carbon emissions.

The Polish leader said participants at the conference backed his country's proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which called for helping people like coal miners who were slated to lose their jobs as the world changed its energy mix. The 20 warmest years on record have all occurred within the last 22 years, and the top four in the past four years, The Guardian noted. Poverty reduction, human development and progress on other Sustainable Development Goals are put at risk.

Delegates at the talks said sticking points were likely to include finance and the level of scrutiny associated with monitoring individual nations' emissions.

"The world's people have spoken".

"Do you not see what is going on around you?" asked one man.

"We are already seeing increased impacts of climate change in China", says a young woman.

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Attempting to raise awareness about how bad the situation is, the United Nations invited renowned David Attenborough to take the stage.

"Katowice (Poland) may show us if there will be any domino effect", from the USA withdrawal, Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and an architect of the Paris agreement, said in the AFP report. 2018 is the year the countries committed to putting a plan in place for carrying out the agreement, so time is running out. "Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world, on which we depend, is in your hands".

"In short, we need a complete transformation of our global energy economy", said Antonio Guterres.

Guterres also urged negotiators not to forget that the challenges they face pale in comparison to the difficulties climate change is already causing millions around the world whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels, drought and more powerful storms.

Guterres called on representatives to cement funding agreements, allowing the worldwide community to take firm steps towards green solutions, suggesting the world was "nowhere near where it needs to be" on moving to a low-carbon economy. "Climate action offers a compelling path to transform our world for the better".

Under Paris, richer nations - responsible for the majority of historic greenhouse gas emissions - are expected to contribute funding that developing nations can access to make their economies greener.

But Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, undermined those messages with a defense of the coal industry. He claimed that using "efficient" coal technology did not necessarily run counter to climate action.

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