U.N. Climate Summit, COP24, Warns of ‘Collapse of Our Civilizations’

The UN talks come at a crucial juncture in mankind's response to planetary warming

The UN talks come at a crucial juncture in mankind's response to planetary warming

The conference was also being sponsored by Polish state-owned coal company JWS, an agreement that Friends of the Earth International called a "middle finger to the climate".

"Katowice (Poland) may show us if there will be any domino effect", from the USA withdrawal, Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and an architect of the Paris agreement, said in the AFP report.

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.

Sir David Attenborough says the "collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon" if no urgent action is taking against global warming.

Attenborough told the delegates: "Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale".

The world is now on course to overshoot by far the limits for global warming agreed in the landmark 2015 Paris accord on climate change, which were meant to prevent more extreme weather, rising sea levels and the loss of plant and animal species.

A second aim is to conclude the so-called Talanoa Dialogue to assess how pledges are tracking in terms of meeting the Paris goal of keeping global warming to well under two degrees, compared with pre-industrial times.

The host nation Poland remains committed to coal, the most polluting of fossil fuels, calling for a "just transition" to allow communities dependent on fossil fuel help in changing their lifestyle.

"In short, we need a complete transformation of our global energy economy, as well as how we manage land and forest resources", Mr Guterres said.

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He said governments should embrace the opportunities rather than cling to fossil fuels such as coal, which are blamed for a significant share of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Bank vice president Amadou Hott is leading a delegation of climate change experts in various fields - including water and sanitation, transport, urbanisation and sustainable cities - who will shed light on the diversity and complexity of the issues raised by climate change.

What are you doing to save our planet? Poland is heavily dependent on coal, which accounts for some 80 percent of all the nation's energy, the Associated Press noted.

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

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.

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.

He later told reporters that realities of global climate changes are "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris" and is not matching the current challenges. Scientists say the deal's most ambitious goal - limiting the rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 C) - is still feasible, but increasingly challenging.

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.

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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