Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Nations pressed to tackle 'urgent threats' at UN climate talks

Nations must triple efforts to achieve Paris climate goals: Study World urged to tackle 'urgent threats' as UN climate talks begin
Doris Mccormick | 06 December, 2018, 06:00

Addressing world leaders at the United Nations climate summit, the great naturalist said that climate change is the "greatest threat in thousands of years", and we are facing a "man-made disaster at a global scale". "The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world on which we depend is in your hands".

Speaking at the opening of the United Nations COP24 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, Attenborough implored the assembled delegates and decision-makers to listen to the voices of those they represent - while there's still time to act.

The UN chief chided countries, particularly those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, for failing to do enough to back the 2015 Paris climate accord, which set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 degrees C, by the end of the century.

"We need concerted resource mobilisation and investment to successfully combat climate change", the Secretary-General told the delegates attending the COP24 grand opening, noting that three quarters of the infrastructure needed by 2050 for climate action still remains to be built. NDCs refer to each country's national efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change impact, which needs to be submitted by 2020.

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, vice chair of the Climate Change Commission, said the Philippine delegation would remain "constant and persistent" in its call for scaled-up, adequate and predictable financial support of developed countries to developing nations. "It's what I think you could call a distributed leadership, where you have a number of countries - some of them small or medium-sized - really making headway and doing it in tandem with cities and states and businesses".

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

"We will see what comes out of it, because a conference is a conference but what is really important is what is actually done, the actions", she said.

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With the direst warnings yet of impending environmental disaster still ringing in their ears, representatives from almost 200 nations gather Sunday in Poland to firm up their plan to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Guterres called on richer nations to increase their funding for the climate fight.

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.

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

The summit aims to adopt a roadmap for putting into practice the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which seeks to slow climate change, public broadcaster Polish Radio has reported. "Climate change is running faster than we are, and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late", he warned.

"As a outcome, access to water, food, the conditions for stability, peace and prosperity are more than ever under threat; and if the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the 2°C temperature goal, let alone the 1.5°C, can still be reached", they warned.

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.

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