Negotiators from almost 200 countries are attending the two-week long United Nations summit, which aims to flesh out a rule book for implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The Paris agreement vowed to limit global temperature rises to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.
"What we need is political will and more far-sighted leadership".
UN General Assembly president Maria Espinosa told AFP that mankind was "in danger of disappearing" if climate change was allowed to progress at its current rate.
In a rare intervention, presidents of previous United Nations climate summits issued a joint statement as the talks got under way, calling on states to take "decisive action.to tackle these urgent threats". "We have been bearing the brunt of disproportionate impact of climate change despite being a low carbon-emitting country".
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. "We require deep transformations of our economies and societies".
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron delayed the fuel price hike that was the impetus for the massive protests across the country and particularly in Paris, a move to quell unrest which had the byproduct of giving U.S. President Donald Trump an excuse to claim a victory of sorts.
G20 leaders on Saturday wrapped up their summit by declaring the Paris Agreement "irreversible".
Envoys from nearly 200 nations gathered in Poland's southern city of Katowice, a day earlier than originally planned, for the U.N. meeting that's scheduled to run until December 14.
Coal is centre-stage at the United Nations summit, which is taking place three years after a landmark deal in Paris set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
"It's not one or two players anymore in the global arena", he said.
Residents of the world's smaller islands, many of whom face catastrophic flooding from higher sea levels in a warming world, have been among the world's most vocal backers of measures to combat climate change.
Brazil's strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, has promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.
"If we don't reduce emissions and build adaption now, we'll have 100 million more people living in poverty by 2030", the bank's climate change chief John Roome told the French News Agency.
A key issue up for debate is how the fight against climate change is funded, with developed and developing nations still world's apart in their demands.
"Or, God forbid, (we) ignore the irrefutable evidence and become the generation that betrayed humanity", Bainimarama said.
"The question really is: how do you ensure that ambitious actions are done in an equitable way?"
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