Monday, 10 December, 2018

World in 'deep trouble' over climate change, United Nations warns

Challenge Naturalist David Attenborough addresses the climate change conference in Poland Challenge Naturalist David Attenborough addresses the climate change conference in Poland
Elijah Vega | 05 December, 2018, 21:47

"Any delay will only make it harder and more expensive to respond to climate change", they warned, in issued the following call to action.

Attenborough's speech comes at a crossroad for global climate action. The United States is the only country, not part of the accord after President Donald Trump chose to walk away from it.

Collected using the #TakeYourSeat hashtag, millions of people from around the world were invited to share their stories about climate change and the impact it has had on them, their families, their health, and their communities.

The Polish leader said participants at the conference backed his country's proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which called for helping people like coal miners who were slated to lose their jobs as the world changed its energy mix.

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

Ironically, the climate summit is projected to have a large carbon footprint of its own which will directly contribute to the "man-made" climate change they claim is about to bring an end to "our civilizations".

"If we don't take action", he continued, "the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

The comments came at the beginning of a two-week climate conference in Katowice, Poland, where emissaries from almost 200 nations are meeting to determine how the world can dramatically scale back greenhouse gas emissions to abide by the landmark Paris climate agreement and, by doing so, stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Attenborough also promoted the "ActNow.bot", a Facebook campaign the U.N.is launching that will recommend actions people can take to protect the planet.

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Current pledges, even if implemented, would likely see warming closer to three degrees, resulting in worsening climate extremes including the demise of the great bulk of the world's coral reefs. 2018 is the year the countries committed to putting a plan in place for carrying out the agreement, so time is running out. "Otherwise they will say, 'We don't want such policy"'.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told negotiators that this period of time is "a matter of life and death" for countries around the world. "The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands".

How are you adapting for climate change?

The Paris accord set a goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius by 2030.

Delegates at the talks said the biggest issues were likely to include finance and the level of scrutiny associated with monitoring individual nations' emissions.

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.

The 197 countries collectively agreed to keep global temperature rises to no more than two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade. In July, Greece declared a state of emergency as massive fires wiped out entire towns.

Frank Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji and president of last year's COP, said developed nations must act now to save the planet.

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