In this photo taken Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, a bird flies past as smoke emits from the chimneys of Serbia’s main coal-fired power station near Kostolac, Serbia. The COP 24 UN Climate Change Conference is taking place in Katowice, Poland. Negotiators from around the world are meeting for talks on curbing climate change. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

UN chief issues dramatic climate appeal to world leaders

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at climate summit in Poland

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the climate summit in Poland by issuing a dramatic appeal to world leaders Monday to take seriously the threat of global warming and act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.

Guterres named climate change as “the most important issue we face.”

RELATED: Trump barrels into G-20 summit after nixing Putin meeting

“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 representatives from almost 200 countries gathered in Katowice, Poland.

The U.N. chief chided countries, particularly those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, for failing to do enough to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord. The 2015 agreement set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5 C (2.7 F) by the end of the century.

Citing a recent scientific report on the dire consequences of letting average global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees, Guterres urged countries to cut their emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and aim for net zero emissions by 2050.

Such a move, which experts say is the only way to achieve the 1.5-degree goal, would require a radical overhaul of the global economy.

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

He said governments should embrace the opportunities rather than cling to fossil fuels such as coal, which are blamed for a significant share of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to steer businesses and consumers away from heavily polluting forms of energy, he urged countries to embrace carbon pricing, something few countries have yet to do.

Guterres also called on negotiators not to lose sight of the fact that the challenges they face pale in comparison to the difficulties already caused by climate change to millions of people around the world seeing their livelihoods at risk from rising sea levels, drought and more powerful storms.

The two-week conference, in Poland’s southern coal mining region of Silesia, is expected to work out how governments can report on their efforts to reduce green gas emission and keep global warming within the Paris accord limit.

RELATED: World eyes trade tension as Trudeau arrives at high-drama G20 summit

“This is the challenge on which this generation’s leaders will be judged,” Guterres said.

Host Poland proposed a declaration for a “just transition” away from coal mining, the supplier of its main source of energy, which calls for winning social acceptance for the necessary changes.

Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, who presided over last year’s summit, said the “just transition” proposal shouldn’t just consider the fate of workers in the fossil fuel industries, but all people around the world whose lives are affected by climate change.

Frank Jordans And Monika Scislowska, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocean Park neighbour aiming to track down answers to headstone ‘mystery’

South Surrey work crews discover memorial on site of under-development property near Kwomais Point

Cloverdale automobile shop offers to pick up, service, and drop off vehicles

Surrey’s Visscher-Pau Automotive starts ‘Blue Glove’ valet service — will cover Cloverdale, Langley, Newton, Fleetwood, and Hazelmere

White Rock brewery turns up the (alcohol by) volume in COVID-19 fight

3 Dogs Brewing is making hand sanitizer for frontline workers, general public

Surrey RCMP looking for ‘distraction theft’ suspect

Suspect allegedly tried to swipe a man’s necklace while giving him a hug

1,000 food hampers packed for delivery to students of Surrey’s inner-city schools

City Dream Centre-led initiative involved volunteer effort at Horizon Church in Newton

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Most Read