Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Only you can save us from climate disaster, Attenborough tells UN

Only you can save us from climate disaster, Attenborough tells UN

Veteran naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough warned that climate change will cause civilizational collapse if world leaders fail to set the global community on a low-emission path.

Stating that we "are extremely concerned about the climate crisis" Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama issued a joint statement, together with three other former COP Presidents, last night calling on countries to send an unequivocal message from COP24 in Katowice, Poland, that they are serious about strengthening their commitments to reduce emissions and help build resilience.

Attenborough said: "Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change".

To maximise the chances of success in Poland, technical talks began on Sunday, a day early, with delegates from almost 200 nations debating how to meet the Paris target of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius and, ideally, aim for a safer 1.5 deg C, which would limit the damage from weather extremes and rising sea levels.

"The United Nations secretary-general is counting on us, all of us to deliver", Kurtyka said.

Severely reducing emissions is the only way reach the 1.5-degree goal, experts say, but it will be an expensive feat.

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

He was speaking at the opening of a United Nations climate change conference in Poland on Monday, where delegates from across the world will negotiate how to tackle the issue.

COP24 comes on the heels of the G-20 gathering in Argentina, where 19 of the 20 leaders signed a communique reaffirming their commitment to fight global warming, but President Donald Trump insisted on a paragraph outlining his opposition and the U.S. decision, under his administration, to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.

"We are in trouble, we are in deep trouble with climate change".

He also told delegates, "America is more than just Washington or one leader".

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal previous year, stating his opinion that it was "an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries".

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A goal of the two-week conference in Poland's southern coal mining region of Silesia is finalizing how governments report on their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming within the limits of the Paris climate deal.

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

Elsewhere in Katowice, a USA campaign group called the Heartland Institute held a meeting criticizing the widespread consensus among scientists that global warming is a man-made phenomenon.

He said developed states had a "collective responsibility to assist the most vulnerable communities and countries -- such as small island nations and the least developed countries -- by supporting adaptation and resilience".

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.

But Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, undermined those messages with a defense of the coal industry.

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