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World urged to tackle 'urgent threats' as United Nations climate talks begin

06 December 2018

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

Katowice is in the heart of Poland's coal mining region of Silesia, and there are several active mines in and around the city.

The talks in Katowice have been billed as the most important United Nations conference since the landmark Paris accord as they precede an end-of-year deadline to agree a "rule book" on how to enforce action to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. Following the White House release last month of a sweeping, 1,656-page report that warned of a bleak future for the country, Trump alluded that he was too intelligent to believe in the phenomenon.

Labor's climate spokesman Mark Butler told Parliament on Tuesday that the "world is now facing a climate emergency" that would unfold over coming decades.

Collected using the #TakeYourSeat hashtag, millions of people from around the world were invited to share their stories about climate change and the impact it has had on them, their families, their health, and their communities. "They want you, the decision markers, to act now".

"America is more than just Washington or one leader", he said, calling Trump "meshugge" - Yiddish for "crazy" - for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord.

"Developed nations led by the U.S. will want to ignore their historic responsibilities and will say the world has changed", said Meena Ramam, from the Third World Network advocacy group.

Climate change protesters demonstrate, prior to the United Nations climate change conference in Poland, in central London, Britain, December 1, 2018.

The special report on Global Warming of 1.5 C said "rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings) and industrial systems" would be required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

They called for ambitious decisions which are sufficiently detailed and comprehensive to enable the effective operation of the Paris Agreement, secured three years ago in the French capital to curb global warming. However, he did say that COP 24 is an effort to "right the ship" and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps.

It set a goal of limiting climate change to well below 2C (3.6F) and was hailed as a "major leap for mankind".

Anna Wiazek, a hairdresser from Katowice, said she was reserving judgment on the climate summit until the end.

Mohamed Adow, climate lead for the Christian Aid charity, said richer nations needed to stump up the cash to allow developing countries to make the leap to renewables.

Without naming specific countries, Guterres chided the nations most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions for failing to do enough to meet the goals set in Paris.

The UN has said the main greenhouse gas emissions which warms Earth - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - have all reached record levels.

Attenborough also promoted the "ActNow.bot", a Facebook campaign the U.N.is launching that will recommend actions people can take to protect the planet.

The talks in Poland also aim to draw up the rulebook for making the Paris deal operational, and poorer countries will be looking for a boost to the finance being made available to help them develop cleanly.

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.

World urged to tackle 'urgent threats' as United Nations climate talks begin