Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

UN Climate Change Summit kick off in Poland with boost from G20

UN Climate Change Summit kick off in Poland with boost from G20

Residents plod through a flooded street in Licab, Nueva Ecija on July 22, 2018.

The COP24 climate summit comes at a crucial juncture in the battle to rein in the effects of our heating planet.

Lots of world leaders are giving talks at the opening meeting, but some are commenting that the number of people attending are way down compared to a climate change conference that took in Paris in 2015.

In Paris three years ago, countries committed to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.

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 at risk from rising sea levels, drought and more powerful storms.

"The decisions we take now will define the next century", Mr Bruton said. "But this ambition also needs to be realised at the Belgian level".

"At the forefront of the fight against climate change in Africa, the African Development Bank, strongly represented in previous COP summits is, once again, present in Katowice to ensure that the voice of Africa is heard loud and clear in global climate negotiations", the bank said on its website.

"We require deep transformations of our economies and societies to build a better world for all".

The other members of the group of industrialised nations - including the biggest polluter, China - reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris deal, taking into account their national circumstances.

FILE - President Donald Trump stands next to the podium after speaking about the USA role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 1, 2017.

That is the most ambitious goal set in the 2015 Paris agreement, which negotiators from almost 200 countries have come to Katowice to finalize.

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Yet political and United Nations leaders have been struggling to inject urgency into two weeks of haggling on how to move on from fossil fuels to give practical effect to the Paris accord.

He later told reporters that realities about global climate are "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris" and is not matching the challenges.

"It's not one or two players anymore in the worldwide arena".

For 1.5C, they must increase fivefold.

Attenborough, who has produced and narrated numerous nature documentaries, is a strong advocate for fighting climate change - but that wasn't always the case.

"The world's people have spoken", he said.

For his part, Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro vowed to follow Washington's lead during his campaign. "For many people, regions, even countries, this is already a matter of life or death".

"A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it", said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, of the United Nations talks.

Attenborough's address drew on messages from people all over the world, conveying a sense of frustration over apparent global inertia toward the looming disaster of climate change.

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. "One of the things I don't want to do is to look at my grandchildren and hear them say: 'Grandfather, you knew it was happening - and you did nothing'".

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