David Attenborough: Humanity's Collapse Looming Amid Climate Change Failure

Christopher Davidson
December 5, 2018

"Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: Climate change", Attenborough said as the worldwide climate conference got underway with talks on how countries will implement the 2015 Paris Agreement limiting carbon emissions.

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, ideally 1.5 degrees C, by the end of the century.

Mr Guterres warned negotiators at the meeting that the world was "in deep trouble" with climate change.

The 92-year-old naturalist addressed the delegates from more than 200 nations in Katowice, as teams work to find ways to ensure implementation of the historic 2016 Paris Climate agreement that seeks to slash global greenhouse emissions from 2020.

"The world's people have spoken", Attenborough summed up.

Citing a recent scientific report on the dire consequences of letting average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees, Mr Guterres urged countries to cut their emissions 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and aim for net zero emissions by 2050. To have any hope of reaching the 1.5 degree Celsius goal by the end of the century, the United Nations said emissions from fossil fuel use must be halved by 2030.

"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.

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.

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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.

"Any delay will only make it harder and more expensive to respond to climate change", they warned, in issued the following call to action.

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.

"We need serious solutions from serious leaders, not unsafe schemes and political tricks aimed to keep big polluters polluting", she said.

"Just last week, the UN's environment programme said the voluntary national contributions agreed in Paris would have to triple if the world was to cap global warming below 2C", AFP reported.

"A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it", said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, of the United Nations talks.

The background to Monday's summit could hardly be bleaker: with just one Celsius of warming so far Earth is bombarded with raging wildfires, widespread crop failures and super-storms exacerbated by rising sea levels. Over the weekend, 19 G20 member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord - except for the U.S., which has cast doubt on climate science assessments.

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.

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