Sir David Attenborough Warns Civilisation Is Near Collapse Unless We Act Now

Sir David Attenborough Warns Civilisation Is Near Collapse Unless We Act Now

He told the gathering that the "collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizons" if no urgent action is taking against global warming.

"Right now we're facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change", Attenborough, 92, said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres officially opened the COP24 summit in Poland with a grim warning, saying that the world is "way off course" in its plan to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The Polish leader said participants at the conference backed his country's proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which called for helping people like coal miners who were slated to lose their jobs as the world changed its energy mix.

"The world's people have spoken - their message is clear they want you, the decision makers, to act now. Time is running out", Attenborough said.

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"They're supporting you in making tough decisions but they're also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives".

"Also, I'm not a chemist or a climatologist or a meteorologist; it isn't for me to suddenly stand up and say I have decided the climate is changing".

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 U.S. decision, under his administration, to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.

In the French capital, three years ago, countries collectively agreed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to limit the rise to 1.5°C.

While the United States is withdrawing from the climate pact, the US Department of State said it was sending a delegation to the Katowice conference.

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Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist, said 90 authors spent more than 1 ½ years assessing about 6,000 peer-reviewed publications for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent special report on the 1.5 C-target. It said about $50 billion will be earmarked for climate adaptation, a recognition that some adverse effects of global warming can't be avoided anymore but require a change in practice. Over the weekend, 19 G20 member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord - except for the USA, which has cast doubt on climate science assessments.

A continuation of current trends will likely result in global warming of around 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with continued temperature rises after that, according to the report.The Trump administration proposed major changes to the H-1B application process aimed at awarding this popular American work visa to the most skilled and highest paid foreign workers.

Severely reducing emissions is the only way reach the 1.5-degree goal, experts say, but it will be an expensive feat.

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

In his opening remarks, Guterres took aim at the countries that are most needed to be held accountable for their level of greenhouse gas emissions, failing to play by the rules set in the Paris agreement.

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US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal past year, stating his opinion that it was "an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries".