Sir David Attenborough calls for 'urgent' climate change action

Sir David Attenborough calls for 'urgent' climate change action

Sir David Attenborough calls for 'urgent' climate change action

The meeting is taking place in Poland, where Sir David will take the "people's seat" - a role that is meant to represent the people around the world who are affected by climate change.

The speeches come after four former presidents of the annual United Nations climate talks warned the "world is at a crossroads" and decisive action in the next two years would be crucial to tackle the threat of climate change.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning the world is "in deep trouble with climate change".

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.

Such a move, which experts say is the only way to achieve the 1.5-degree goal, would require a radical overhaul of the global economy and a move away from using fossil fuels.

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

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

Not far from the meeting venue, environmental activists held a small protest to call for an end to coal mining in Poland, which gets some 80 per cent of its energy from coal.

Recent studies have shown that 20 of the past 22 years have been the warmest in recorded history, and climate change action needs to be increased fivefold if we want to have a chance to avoid catastrophic warming, which would cause permanent and irremediable damage to both human and natural environments.

To reach this goal, emissions must be halved from 2010 levels by 2030, Guterres said.

At COP24, nations must finalize implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement - known as the Paris Agreement Work Program or Paris Rulebook.

Guterres called for a "huge increase in ambitions" during the two weeks of negotiations in Poland, adding "we can not afford to fail in Katowice".

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.

Ministers and some heads of government plan to join the discussion today, when the host nation is expected to push for a declaration ensuring a "just transition" for fossil fuel industries that face cuts and closures amid efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

FILE - President Donald Trump stands next to the podium after speaking about the US role in the Paris climate change accord in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 1, 2017.

Of the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by climate change, seven are in Africa - Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

Calling Trump "meshugge", Yiddish for "crazy", for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord, Schwarzenegger insisted that the climate deal has widespread support at local and state levels in the US.

But many other countries are already dealing with the droughts, higher seas and catastrophic storms climate change is exacerbating.

"Developed nations led by the U.S. will want to ignore their historic responsibilities and will say the world has changed", said Meena Ramam, from the Third World Network advocacy group.

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