Speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland, Sir David Attenborough, the famous British naturist and broadcaster, has said that climate change could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of "much of the natural world". The COP24 meeting is the most critical meeting on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.
Sir David, who is attending the meeting as the ‘People’s Seat’, a link between the public and policy-makers said: "Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.
"The world's people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now."
The urgency to address climate change was highlighted in October 2018 by the IPCC who explained that in order to keep to the 1.5C maximum temperature rise goal, governments would have to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030.
Four former UN climate talks presidents issued a statement on Sunday 2 December, calling for urgent and decisive action to be made over the next two years.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, explained climate change was already "a matter of life and death" for many countries. That the world is "nowhere near where it needs to be" on the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Showing the increasing importance of discussions around Climate Change the UN Secretary-General called the conference an effort to "right the ship" and committed to convening a climate summit in 2019 to discuss next steps. The World Bank has also announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.
Over the next two weeks leaders will attempt to establish a set of rules for tackling climate change and implementing the Paris climate agreement targets.
Last updated: 12/2018