United Nations chief says world is 'way off course' on climate change

Nations must triple efforts to achieve Paris climate goals: Study

"The continuation of civilization and the natural world on which we depend, is in your hands".

The UN chief chided countries, particularly those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, for failing to do enough to back the 2015 Paris climate accord, which set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) - ideally 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) - by the end of the century.

"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption", Guterres told delegates from nearly 200 countries who gathered in the city of Katowice.

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

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.

Delegates said that one of the trickiest issues could be monitoring emissions as the United States, 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.

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.

A series of reports in the run-up to the Katowice conference have made clear the widening gap between high-level rhetoric and actual work to cut emissions, which have continued to rise.

Citing bleak recent reports, including one from the United Nations expert climate panel in October, Guterres noted devastation from hurricanes in Barbuda and Dominica which he called "heart-breaking", but also "preventable".

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

The delegates of COP24 will have taken Sir Attenborough's words seriously after he called climate change, "our greatest threat in thousands of years".

"The world is at a crossroads and decisive action in the next two years will be crucial to tackle these urgent threats", they said in the joint statement.

Yet expectations for Katowice are low.

Poland has been slowly moving away from coal as part of the EU's larger mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The riots in Paris at the weekend, partly in protest at higher fuel taxes, also illustrate the conundrum: How do political leaders introduce policies that will do long-term good for the environment without inflicting extra costs on voters that may damage their chances of re-election?

Guterres said in order to achieve that, global emissions from 2010 levels to 2030 must be halved.

The Paris climate agreement sets a goal of raising US$100 billion (S$137 billion) every year from 2020 for climate action.

But in his opening remarks Monday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said coal "does not contradict the protection of the climate and the progress of climate protection".

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Internal Facebook Emails Show How Company Burnt Rivals, Struck Deals Over Data
The engineer suggested shutting down Vine's access to the friends feature, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it". He is also the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that's investigating Facebook.

Chevrolet Silverado HD Details Emerge
Also, compared to its 1500 sibling, the HD model is nearly entirely different, as the two trucks have only their roofs in common. Brian Izard, lead designer on the project, says Chevrolet wanted to "visually capture the power and capability" of its new truck.

Indian PM Modi attends Nick, Priyankas wedding reception
The newlyweds posed for photos with their close friends and family at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi , India on Tuesday night. And now the superstar has announced that she is "Mrs Jonas" for forever and ever in an adorable post.

Body found after U.S. woman goes missing in Costa Rica
The night before her flight, Stefaniak took an Uber ride around the town and then was dropped off at an Airbnb. They are waiting for additional tests but believe a body found this week is that of Carla Stefanik.

Dawson to face murder charge back in NSW
After a career playing rugby league for the Newtown Jets, Chris Dawson worked as a P.E. teacher at Cromer High School. The case came to prominence this year following The Australian's investigative podcast series, The Teacher's Pet .

Other news