UN Climate Change Summit kick off in Poland with boost from G20

Sir David Attenborough Lays Into World Leaders At UN Climate Change Summit

Sir David Attenborough Lays Into World Leaders At UN Climate Change Summit

Speaking Monday at the opening of two weeks of climate talks in Poland, Guterres said it is "the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris Agreement was signed". They aim to establish rules, figure out financing and build ways to verify that nations are meeting their commitments.

Veteran British nature-documentary broadcaster David Attenborough warned that both civilisation and the natural world are on the brink of collapse, as world leaders prepare to gather in Poland for the United Nations climate summit.

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 USA decision, under his administration, to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.

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.

But the human-led impact of climate change is already being observed around the world - from extreme weather to devastating fires.

The speakers highlighted the progress that Bangladesh has already achieved to counteract the negative consequences of climate change whereas the civil society repeatedly claimed that their communities would not yet sufficiently benefit from the efforts by government and industry, said the German Embassy in Dhaka.

"If we fail, the Arctic and Antarctic will continue to melt, corals will bleach and then die, the oceans will rise, more people will die from air pollution, water scarcity will plague a significant proportion of humanity, and the cost of disasters will skyrocket", he warned.

He has also moved to withdraw the USA from the Paris pact.

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He said the world is facing its "greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change".

Anna Wiazek, a hairdresser from Katowice, said she was reserving judgment on the climate summit until the end.

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.

Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and president of last year's COP, said Poland's submission must result in "a just transition for everyone, especially the most climate vulnerable".

Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, who presided over last year's United Nations climate summit, said the "just transition" proposal should not just consider the fate of fossil-fuel workers but all people around the world whose lives were affected by climate change.

Delegates said that one of the trickiest issues could be monitoring emissions as the USA, which cannot quit the pact until 2020, uses the talks to press for a level of detail it perceives as useful to its foreign policy dealings.

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Even the most strident climate warnings - spiralling temperatures, global sea-level rises, mass crop failures - are something that many developed nations will only have to tackle in future. "So I think it is perfectly normal that his Holiness the Pope, not only this Pope, it comes from the past, have a very positive position in relation to climate action", he said.

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