World 'way off course,' United Nations warns at crunch climate summit

Pablo Tucker
December 5, 2018

They aim to establish rules, figure out financing and build ways to verify that nations are meeting their commitments.

During the UN COP24 Climate Change Conference grand opening in Katowice, Poland on Monday, he told over 150 world leaders gathered for climate action that "we are in deep trouble".

Negotiators at the United Nations climate talks got down to the nitty-gritty task Tuesday of finalizing the rules for the Paris accord, a landmark agreement by countries three years ago to curb global warming.

The world is now on course to overshoot by far the limits for global warming agreed in the landmark 2015 Paris accord on climate change, which were meant to prevent more extreme weather, rising sea levels and the loss of plant and animal species.

Negotiators from around the world are meeting in Poland for talks on curbing climate change, three years after sealing a landmark deal in Paris that set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The goal of the conference is to come up with a "rulebook" to enforce the Paris agreement, even as some recent reports claim that the agreement does not go far enough, according to AFP.

But the human-led impact of climate change is already being observed around the world - from extreme weather to devastating fires.

The World Bank on Monday said it was doubling funding for poor countries preparing for climate change to $200 billion over five years.

Guterres called climate change as "the most important issue we face".

He has also moved to withdraw the US from the Paris pact.

"As a effect, access to water, food, the conditions for stability, peace and prosperity are more than ever under threat; and if the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the 2°C temperature goal, let alone the 1.5°C, can still be reached", they warned.

He said the world is facing its "greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change".

He later told reporters realities of global climate changes were, "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris" and was not matching the current challenges. "They are behind you, along with civil society [who are] represented here today, supporting you in making tough decisions, but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives", he added.

But Katowice comes ahead of an end-of-year-deadline for the United Nations to agree on a "rule book" for enforcing action on climate change.

Stating that "we have no time for limitless negotiations", the Secretary-General insisted on the need to operationalise the Paris Agreement, and reminded Member States that 2018 is the deadline that they set for themselves to finalise the guidelines for implementation. The United States is the only country, not part of the accord after President Donald Trump made a decision to walk away from it.

We are off-track, we will not reach 2020 with what was promised in Paris.

Host country Poland is expected to propose what it calls a "just transition" for the oil, gas, and coal industries to ease the financial blow from the move away from such polluting sources of energy.

Of the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by climate change, seven are in Africa - Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

Other reports by iNewsToday