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

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 5, 2018

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

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.

"Leaders of the world you must lead", he added.

The veteran broadcaster, 92, said time is running out for the issue of climate change to be taken seriously and said much of the natural world would go extinct if nothing is done. The world is working to implement the commitments made under the Paris Agreement but is still far off track from preventing catastrophic levels of warming.

And the United Nations has warned that action needs to increase drastically in order to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 Celsius or risk facing catastrophic droughts, flooding, and heatwaves.

Such cuts, which experts say are 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", said Guterres.

He said governments should embrace the opportunities rather than cling to fossil fuels such as coal, which are blamed for a significant share of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Poland is heavily dependent on coal, which accounts for some 80 percent of all the nation's energy, the Associated Press noted.

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. Guterres called climate change "the most important issue we face".

The conference, attended by 30,000 delegates from 196 countries including Ireland, is being held in Katowice, in the heart of Poland's coal-mining region.

He told reporters that the reality of global climate change has been "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris" and not matching the current challenges. "We need more action and more ambition", Guterres said.

In his usual fashion, Attenborough was eloquent and to the point; however, while we're used to hearing his voice describe the wonders of nature, this time it described a horrific situation - and one that we are responsible for.

He also told delegates, "America is more than just Washington or one leader".

The United States, meanwhile, reiterated at the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday its decision to withdraw from the Paris accord and Its commitment to all energy sources.

And even as Attenborough assured world leaders that the people of Earth support "tough decisions" and are "willing to make sacrifices" to fight climate change, violent protests on the streets of Paris have sounded a different note.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, emphasized the sense of urgency, saying that climate change was already "a matter of life and death" for many countries.

Guterres pleaded with countries to reduce their emissions from 2010 by 45 per cent by 2030 and to set a goal to release a net zero emissions by 2050, recalling consequences laid out in the 700-page report written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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