Climate change a man-made disaster on global scale, warns Attenborough

Clark Diaz
December 7, 2018

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton, who is in Poland for the talks, said he fully endorsed UN Secretary-General António Guterres's comments about the need to take action.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appears on screens when delivering a speech during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, December 3, 2018.

He told the delegates that "Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late.For many, people, regions and even countries this is already a matter of life or death".

The talks in Katowice have been billed as the most important United Nations conference since the landmark Paris accord as they precede an end-of-year deadline to agree a "rule book" on how to enforce action to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

In the French capital, three years ago, countries collectively agreed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to limit the rise to 1.5°C. "It's what I think you could call a distributed leadership, where you have a number of countries - some of them small or medium-sized - really making headway and doing it in tandem with cities and states and businesses". We've known for a while what we have to do to curtail our carbon emissions, make a global transition to a clean energy economy and make sure that we're investing and protecting communities that are bearing the impacts of climate change.

In order to prevent that, by 2030, worldwide Carbon dioxide emissions would have to fall by 45 per cent from the 2010 levels and have to reach "net zero" by 2050.

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Antonio Guterres and Andrzej Duda at the United Nations climate conference on Monday.

A montage message was also played to the delegates, with warnings from people all over the world.

A 15-year-old Swedish activist who takes time out of school to highlight the danger of global warming echoed his appeal.

"Leaders of the world you must lead", he added.

President Trump last week said he "doesn't believe" his own administration's report on the economic impact of climate change, which projected a hit in the hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to climate change.

"Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the USA withdrawal, she told Agence France-Presse. "It's very sad, but if they don't do anything right now that is the truth".

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It said about $50 billion would be earmarked for climate adaptation, a recognition that some adverse effects of global warming could not be avoided anymore but required a change in practice.

Guterres called for a "huge increase in ambitions" during the two weeks of negotiations in Poland, adding "we can not afford to fail in Katowice".

He told reporters that the reality of global climate change has been "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris" and not matching the current challenges. The United States is the only country, not part of the accord after President Donald Trump made a decision to walk away from it.

Brazil's strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, had promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.

"I have been present in climate negotiations for about 15 to 20 years".

Yiddish for "crazy" - for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord, Schwarzenegger insisted the 2015 agreement has widespread support at the local and state level in the U.S.

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Duda, the Polish leader, said participants at the conference have backed its proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which calls for helping those people, like coal miners, who are slated to lose their jobs as the world changes its energy mix. About 10 people attended the event, where speakers claimed that temperature increases recorded in recent decades are largely due to increased activity from the sun.

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