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

10 December, 2018, 15:28 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
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"Leaders of the world, you must lead", said the naturalist, given a "People's seat" at the two-week United Nations climate conference in the Polish coal city of Katowice alongside two dozen heads of state and government.

Almost 200 nations gathered in Poland Monday for the start of the COP24 summit, where they must agree on a universal rulebook to make good on the promises they made in the 2015 Paris climate deal.

Right now we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years - climate change.

"We are pushing ourselves to do more and to go faster on climate and we call on the global community to do the same".

Thunberg, who protests outside Sweden's parliament each week and has inspired students in other countries, said absent leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "don't realize how much power they have".

Abnormally high temperatures are becoming common, and subsequent extreme weather events more regular.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the 20 warmest years ever recorded were in the past 22 years.

From glaciers melting in Nepal to the rising seas threatening to engulf small island states, the world is already experiencing the damage lying in wait if global warming is allowed to run unchecked.

The 2018 Emissions Gap Report from UN Environment which annually presents a definitive assessment of the "emissions gap" - the gap between anticipated emission levels in 2030, compared to levels consistent with a 2/1.5 degrees Celsius target.

Delegates were played a montage of messages collected from people around the world.

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"I do believe that if one is a believer and one believes that the world is created by God, it must be bad to see human beings destroying God's creation". Guterres called climate change "the most important issue we face".

As the video ended, Attenborough took up their cry.

He said: "This is a really critical issue because this is where the global climate change agreements that were made in Paris three years ago start to get implemented and so this really affects every single person on our planet".

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

The collective actions will be presented during the Secretary-General's Climate Summit in NY in September 2019. "For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life or death".

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

Attenborough's speech comes at a crossroad for global climate action.

The conference, which is being held in the heart of coal country, brought together green activists, scientists, government officials, and heads of state. Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, spoke at the opening ceremony, saying the use of "efficient" coal technology can be employed to take action on climate change, something which has been described as raising the "middle finger to the climate".

The U.N. chief's remark was directed at conference host Poland, which relies on coal for 80 percent of its energy.

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