David Attenborough: 'The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon'

Muriel Hammond
December 7, 2018

And if you do that, I promise you: "I'll be back".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the climate summit in Poland by issuing a dramatic appeal to world leaders Monday to take seriously the threat of global warming and act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.

The British broadcaster urged world leaders to respond to "our greatest threat in thousands of years".

To maximize the chances of success, technical talks began on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, with delegates from almost 200 nations haggling over how to implement the broad promises of the Paris deal on moving away from fossil fuel. "The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands".

Host Poland proposed a declaration for a "just transition" away from coal mining, the supplier of its main source of energy, which calls for winning social acceptance for the necessary changes.

Schwarzenegger said the idea that fossil fuel-dependent economies would suffer as they transition to renewables was a fallacy.

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".

In a rare intervention, presidents of previous United Nations climate summits issued a joint statement as the talks got under way in the Polish mining city of Katowice, calling on states to take decisive action "to tackle these urgent threats".

The current pace of action is insufficient to meet the Paris targets, according to a report which estimates that mitigation efforts need to be tripled to limit global warming to two.

But wealthy states, led by the USA, have so far resisted calls to be more transparent in how their contributions are reported-something developing nations say is vital to form ambitious green energy plans. Poland's President Duda told reporters that his country, which relies on coal for 80 per cent of its energy, would work to reduce its reliance on coal but never entirely give up its "strategic fossil fuel".

ASSOCIATED PRESS Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, addresses representatives of nearly 200 nations during a ceremonial opening of the key U.N. climate conference.

"We are here to enable the world to act together on climate change", he said.

The 92-year-old was chosen to represent the people of the world and address delegates at the United Nations climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, The Guardian reported.

Heated debates are expected to dominate the two-week climate talks, considered the most important negotiations after the successful COP21 in Paris.

The agreement aims to bolster the response to combating climate change by setting a goal to keep global temperature rise well below the 2 degrees Celsius and actively seeking ways to keep the increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The country's supply of coal can last another 200 years.

The World Bank has announced it is doubling investments in climate action with $200bn (€176bn) for 2021-2025, including $50bn (€44bn) towards helping countries adapt to the impacts of global warming.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has long campaigned against climate change, is expected to draw crowds, while there are reports that other Hollywood celebrities will make an appearance as well.

The conservationist is serving in the "People's Seat" during the conference, a role in which he will present comments from members of the public affected by climate change to the dignitaries and officials present at the summit.

The summit taking place December 2-14 in Katowice is meant to build on the 2015 Paris climate accord, which set a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

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