Climate change is 'most important issue we face — United Nations chief

Presidents of at-risk states such as Honduras Nigeria and Bangladesh are expected at COP24 talks

Presidents of at-risk states such as Honduras Nigeria and Bangladesh are expected at COP24 talks

British broadcaster and environmentalist David Attenborough on Monday (Dec 3) urged world leaders, meeting in Poland to agree ways to limit global warming, to get on and tackle "our greatest threat in thousands of years".

"At the upcoming summit, we expect G20 countries to demonstrate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and to taking the necessary action to limit warming to 1.5°C, including by moving forward with the Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan from past year".

The 2016 Paris climate talks (COP21) saw nearly 200 nations commit to a variety of national goals created to keep global temperatures "well below" 2°C above pre-industrial levels and try to limit to them to 1.5°C.

The talks in Katowice - at heart of Poland's coal region - precede an end-of-year deadline to produce a "rule book" to flesh out the broad details that were agreed in Paris on limiting the rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Without naming specific countries, Guterres chided the nations most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions for failing to do enough to meet the goals set in Paris.

He said trillions of dollars in climate finance was, therefore, needed to cover the costs of adapting to climate change impacts, coping with loss and damage and pursuing clean development pathways to avoid emissions.

"We, former Presidents of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, are extremely concerned about the climate crisis and join our voices to the chorus of those seeking enhanced action", they said.

The U.N. released a dire report in October that warned of severe, climate-related effects by as early as 2040 unless there is dramatic action to curb global emissions.

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.

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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.

"Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale".

President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the US out of the Paris agreement because of what he says is the economic damage the treaty's provisions would cause.

Challenge: Naturalist David Attenborough addresses the climate change conference in Poland.

COP24, the UN's annual climate summit, kicked off in Katowice, Poland.

Host country Poland is expected to propose what it calls a "just transition" for the oil, gas, and coal industries to ease the financial blow from the move away from such polluting sources of energy.

"We achieved success in Paris because negotiators were working toward a common goal", and called for urgent collaboration to "ensure that the bonds of trust established in Paris will endure". "We need more action and more ambition", Guterres said.

"We need concerted resource mobilisation and investment to successfully combat climate change, we must start today building the tomorrow we want".

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.

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