David Attenborough: Civilisation is on the brink of collapse

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World renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough

The conference ends on December 14.

Scientist and presenter, Sir David Attenborough has spoken at a big conference today about climate change.

As part of COP24, Attenborough was speaking from the "People's Seat": an effort to give a voice to the billions of citizens who aren't in attendance at the United Nations summit - but whose continued existence on the planet depends on the decisions made over the next fortnight by the delegates invited.

The delegates of COP24 will have taken Sir Attenborough's words seriously after he called climate change, "our greatest threat in thousands of years". "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

And researchers have also found that climate change is contributing to the destruction of some of the world's most vulnerable natural habitats and is compounding natural disasters, like hurricanes, by increasing rainfall.

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. "Over the next two weeks, we will work with countries all over the world to put together a rulebook to make sure we all fulfil our commitments".

"Katowice (Poland) may show us if there will be any domino effect", from the USA withdrawal, Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and an architect of the Paris agreement, said in the AFP report.

The U.N. chief opened the climate summit in Poland with a dire warning to world leaders.

The bank said it was at the forefront of climate change and was ready to ensure that the voice of the 54 African countries is heard. "For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life and death".

Organisers said on their website that they were taking to the streets of Brussels to claim their "right to an ambitious and socially just climate policy".

The speeches come after four former presidents of the annual United Nations climate talks warned the "world is at a crossroads" and decisive action in the next two years would be crucial to tackle the threat of climate change.

In a joint statement, France's Laurent Fabius, Frank Bainimarama from Fiji, Salaheddine Mezouar from Morocco, and Peru's Manuel Pulgar Vidal said: "The challenges are there, as are the solutions".

"We require deep transformations of our economies and societies to build a better world for all. This must be powered by multilateral co-operation". COP 21, in 2015, led to the landmark Paris Agreement.

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

And there needs to be progress on the goal of mobilising $100bn (€88bn) a year for poorer countries to drive clean growth, they urged.

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 vast majority of the scientific community agrees that climate change is happening, though notable holdouts-including President Donald Trump-have frustrated global efforts to address the crisis and squandered precious time and resources that could have been used to limit carbon emissions.

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