David Attenborough: 'The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon'

David Attenborough: 'The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon'

Duda, the Polish leader, said participants at the conference have backed his country's proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which calls for helping people like coal miners who are slated to lose their jobs as the world changes its energy mix. Now elected leaders, governments, and powerful interests must do the same.

"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.

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 United States decision, under his administration, to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. With further meetings next year meant to build on what's decided in Katowice, Kurtyka urged all countries to "show creativity and flexibility".

But host Poland - heavily reliant on energy from coal - will push its own agenda: a "just transition" from fossil fuels that critics say could allow it to continue polluting for decades.

Attenborough was there to represent the public, by taking the "People's Seat" at the conference.

Under the 2015 Paris climate accord, richer nations - responsible for the majority of historic greenhouse gas emissions - are expected to contribute funding that developing nations can access to make their economies greener.

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

The World Bank has announced it is doubling investments in climate action with 200 billion USA dollars (£157 billion) for 2021-2025, including 50 billion United States dollars (£39 billion) towards helping countries adapt to the impacts of global warming.

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Citing a recent scientific report on the dire consequences of letting average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees, Guterres urged countries to cut their emissions 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and aim for net zero emissions by 2050. He called on the almost 200 countries represented in Katowice, Poland, to take the issue seriously, and commit to the course of action agreed to in Paris in 2015.

The meeting in Katowice is regarded as a key test of countries' willingness to back their lofty but distant goals with concrete measures, some of which are already drawing fierce protests.

Separately, negotiators will discuss ramping up countries' national emissions targets after 2020, and financial support for poor nations that are struggling to adapt to climate change.

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

Waskow, who has followed climate talks for years, said despite the Trump administration's refusal to back this global effort the momentum is going in the right direction. "They want you, the decision-makers, to act now".

"Now I do not have any doubt at all", Attenborough said two years after that lecture.

"Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it's too late". German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for the country's exit from coal at the meeting in Katowice but an expert committee has delayed issuing its recommendations until next year.

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