United Nations climate talks open in Poland

Baltic news News from Latvia

This round of worldwide climate negotiations among partners of the UNFCCC is reputed the most important one following the COP21 in Paris where the parties agreed to pursue an objective of limiting the rise of global temperature well below 2 centigrades aiming for 1.5 centigrades.

"Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the U.S. withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal. The impacts of a new climate are already shaping our lives, and the footprint is so clear that leaders from around the world gathered in Katowice should have enough momentum from this movement to push forward all agreed actions to start slowing down the accelerated human impact on climate.

"Right now we're facing a man-made disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change", Attenborough, 92, said.

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

The conference, attended by 30,000 delegates from 196 countries including Ireland, is being held in Katowice, in the heart of Poland's coal-mining region. However, Poland did announce it will cut its reliance on coal to about 50 per cent by 2030. Schwarzenegger said he wished he could travel back in time - like the cyborg he portrayed in "The Terminator" - to stop fossil fuels from being used.

Envoys from nearly 200 nations gathered in Poland's southern city of Katowice, a day earlier than originally planned because of the large number of issues that need to be resolved by December 14.

"If we don't take action", he continued, "the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

It is a meeting where lots of governments are coming together to discuss what to do after a climate change report came out in October saying global temperature rises should be limited to 1.5°C.

Mr Guterres warned negotiators at the meeting that the world was "in deep trouble" with climate change.

"The United Nations secretary-general is counting on us, all of us to deliver", Kurtyka said.

Speaking at the opening of a United Nations climate conference, Duda said that Poland has cut its carbon gas emission by 30 percent in the past three decades, while maintaining substantial economic growth. Poland is heavily dependent on coal, which accounts for some 80 percent of all the nation's energy, the Associated Press noted.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing to world leaders to take seriously the threat of global warming and take bold action to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures.

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.

German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for the country's exit from coal at the meeting in Katowice but an expert committee has delayed issuing its recommendations until next year.

No global climate summit would be complete without a few celebrities. He has also moved to withdraw the USA from the Paris pact.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has long campaigned against climate change, is expected to draw crowds, while there are reports that other Hollywood celebrities will make an appearance as well.

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

The organisers called for ambitious climate policies to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with goals set by the Paris Agreement in 2015.