Nations urged to tackle 'urgent threats' at UN climate talks - International

Cesar Mills
December 6, 2018

But even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for action Monday in Poland, telling gathered delegates that "we are in deep trouble with climate change", the United States has been emphasizing its rejection of the Paris agreement and global consensus.

He said the world is facing its "greatest threat in thousands of years: 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", he said.

The two-week 24th conference of the parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) technically started on Sunday, but Monday saw the high-level grand opening that also emphasised implementation of guidelines to build trust among nations.

The talks in Katowice - at heart of Poland's coal region - precede an end-of-year deadline to produce a "rule book" to flesh out the broad details that were agreed in Paris on limiting the rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

World leaders are gathering at United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Poland, the most important meeting since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The British environmental website Carbon Brief attributed Attenborough's change in perspective to a lecture by American scientist Ralph Cicerone in 2004, in which Cicerone showed graphs of world temperature, global population and the make-up of the atmosphere.

The climate rules and policies that are agreed at the worldwide and national levels will have an enormous impact on how business can help combat climate change, affecting companies' domestic and global operations, supply chains, planning and investments.

"Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it's too late", he said.

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The road to a final rulebook is far from smooth: the dust is still settling from US President Donald Trump's decision to ditch the Paris accord.

The First Minister said the money will support the work of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which promotes collaboration between governments, businesses and investors to lower emissions.

Arriving for two weeks of talks on tackling climate change, conference participants cast off hats, scarves and heavy coats as they entered cavernous halls in Katowice heated by coal-fired power plants nearby.

"The good news is that we do know a lot of what we need to be able to do to get there", said David Waskow of the World Resources Institute.

The Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement - though not yet in effect - has left a leadership void that others are scrambling to fill and expanded the opportunity for China to shape global policy.

COP24 received a boost over the weekend when 19 major economies at the G-20 summit affirmed their commitment to the Paris accord.

Envoys from nearly 200 nations gathered in Poland's southern city of Katowice, a day earlier than originally planned because of the large number of issues that need to be resolved by December 14.

"This is the challenge on which this generation's leaders will be judged, " Guterres said.

And researchers have also found that climate change is contributing to the destruction of some of the world's most vulnerable natural habitats and is compounding natural disasters, like hurricanes, by increasing rainfall.

"Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the USA withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal.

Other reports by GizPress

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