Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Weekend, Climate change negotiators gather in Poland

Visitors to the U.N. climate conference watch a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Katowice Poland Monday Dec. 3 2018. The COP24 UN Climate Chang Visitors to the U.N. climate conference watch a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Katowice Poland Monday Dec. 3 2018. The COP24 UN Climate Chang
Theresa Hayes | 05 December, 2018, 23:48

They aim to establish rules, figure out financing and build ways to verify that nations are meeting their commitments.

Human civilisations could collapse and many species be driven to extinction unless there is more action to tackle climate change, Sir David Attenborough has warned.

In 2015, the Paris agreement deal saw nations agree to limit global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and under 1.5C if possible.

G20 leaders on Saturday agreed a final communique after their summit in Buenos Aires, declaring that the Paris Agreement was "irreversible".

"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption", Guterres told delegates from nearly 200 countries who gathered in the city of Katowice.

Referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) special report, released in October 2018, on the impacts of the global warming of 1.5°C, Mr. Endalew said, the IPCC report made it crystal clear that every bit of warming mattered, especially for the LDCs.

"We are pushing ourselves to do more and to go faster on climate and we call on the global community to do the same".

"America is more than just Washington or one leader", he said, calling Trump "meshugge" - Yiddish for "crazy" - for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord.

"As a outcome, access to water, food, the conditions for stability, peace and prosperity are more than ever under threat; and if the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the 2°C temperature goal, let alone the 1.5°C, can still be reached", they warned.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice Poland Monday Dec
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice Poland Monday Dec

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the COP24 United Nations climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, Attenborough called climate change "our greatest threat in thousands of years".

And even as Attenborough assured world leaders that the people of Earth support "tough decisions" and are "willing to make sacrifices" to fight climate change, violent protests on the streets of Paris have sounded a different note.

Delegates from almost 200 countries now have two weeks of negotiations to finalise how those goals work in practice, even as science suggests the pace of climate change is rapidly outstripping mankind's response.

But nations more immediately threatened by climate change, including Fiji, whose prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, served as president of last year's climate conference, urged developed nations to act now to save the planet.

Guterres said governments should embrace the opportunities rather than cling to fossil fuels such as coal, a dig at hosts Poland.

Attenborough, known worldwide for his uniquely passionate nature documentary narrations, was invited to the COP24 United Nations climate conference in the city of Katowice as a representative of the people of the world, many of who sent in messages that Attenborough reportedly used to inform his speech.

However, he did say that COP 24 is an effort to "right the ship" and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps. "We need more action and more ambition", Guterres said.

"We achieved success in Paris because negotiators were working toward a common goal", and called for urgent collaboration to "ensure that the bonds of trust established in Paris will endure".