David Attenborough: 'The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon'

World urged to tackle'urgent threats as UN climate talks begin

Lots of world leaders are giving talks at the opening meeting, but some are commenting that the number of people attending are way down compared to a climate change conference that took in Paris in 2015.

The British broadcaster urged world leaders to respond to "our greatest threat in thousands of years". He said: "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

Duda, the Polish leader, said participants at the conference have backed its proposal of a "just transition" away from coal mining, which calls for helping those people, like coal miners, who are slated to lose their jobs as the world changes its energy mix.

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

Tens of thousands took part in the'Claim the Climate march in Brussels
Tens of thousands took part in the'Claim the Climate march in Brussels

Abnormally high temperatures are becoming common, and subsequent extreme weather events more regular.

He said that the World Meteorological Organisation has measured the 20 warmest years on record in the past 22 years, with four of these in the past four years.

The Paris deal saw nations agree to limit global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and under 1.5C if possible.

Delegates were played a montage of messages collected from people around the world.

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"Do you not see what is going on around you?" asked one man.

Guterres also urged negotiators not to forget that the challenges they face pale in comparison to the difficulties climate change is already causing millions around the world whose homes and livelihoods are at risk from rising sea levels, drought and more powerful storms.

"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption", Guterres told delegates from nearly 200 countries who gathered in Katowice, Poland. "Time is running out", he said.

But US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord has dented trust among vulnerable nations, who fear there is not enough cash available to help them adapt to our heating planet. "Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilizations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands".

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After a string of damning scientific reports showing humanity must drastically slash its greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told delegates at the opening of a UN climate summit: "We are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough".

We're facing a man-made disaster of global scale. "For many people, regions, even countries, this is already a matter of life and death".

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.

"In short, we need a complete transformation of our global energy economy, as well as how we manage land and forest resources", said Guterres.

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Under Paris, richer nations - responsible for the majority of historic greenhouse gas emissions - are expected to contribute funding that developing nations can access to make their economies greener.

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