World 'way off course,' United Nations warns at crunch climate summit

World urged to tackle'urgent threats as UN climate talks begin

World urged to tackle'urgent threats as UN climate talks begin

Sir David Attenborough encouraged leaders of the world to take a stand and address the issue of climate change while speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland.

The comments were made in Katowice, Poland, the city hosting the UN's COP24 climate talks - a multilateral meeting drawing together about 200 countries to set the rulebook for the 2015 Paris climate accords.

"Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change", Attenborough told the audience. He said: "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

The naturalist and TV presenter delivered a message from people around the world to United Nations climate talks in Katowice, Poland, calling for leaders and decision- makers to take charge on driving down greenhouse gas emissions.

Negotiators at the talks will hear details of a global review on climate change-tackling efforts, and the pressure is on to work towards increasing commitments from countries by 2020. The effects would include a mass die-off of coral reefs and an increase in extreme weather events.

He said that the World Meteorological Organisation has measured the 20 warmest years on record in the past 22 years, with four of these in the past four years.

Citing a recent scientific report on the dire consequences of letting average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees, Mr Guterres urged countries to cut their emissions 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and aim for net zero emissions by 2050. Poverty reduction, human development and progress on other Sustainable Development Goals are put at risk.

Delegates were played a montage of messages collected from people around the world. One young man asked the camera, "Do you not see what is going on around you?"

Tens of thousands took part in the'Claim the Climate march in Brussels
Tens of thousands took part in the'Claim the Climate march in Brussels

The bank said it was at the forefront of climate change and was ready to ensure that the voice of the 54 African countries is heard.

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

"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 said. "Time is running out", Attenborough said.

However, US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord has dented trust among vulnerable nations, who fear there is not enough cash available to help them adapt to our heating planet. "The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world, on which we depend, is in your hands".

"It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Many countries are already dealing with the droughts, higher seas and catastrophic storms climate change is exacerbating.

"We have a collective responsibility to invest in averting global climate chaos", he said.

"We require deep transformations of our economies and societies to build a better world for all". But Poland's President Andrzej Duda told a later news conference that the coal-rich country will reduce its reliance on coal but will never entirely give up its "strategic fossil fuel".

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