Attenborough to take "People's Seat" at climate change conference

Olive Hawkins
December 5, 2018

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.

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 continuation of civilization and the natural world on which we depend, is in your hands". Their message is clear: time is running out.

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.

"Climate change is running faster than we are, and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it is too late", U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, said at the beginning of the event.

"The decisions we take now will define the next century", Mr Bruton said.

But now, the world is less than united in the battle against climate change. "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".

The UN has launched the "ActNow.bot" which will recommend everyday challenges to individuals on how they can play their part in the worldwide push for change.

"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.

Last week, 20 leaders responsible for 85 percent of the world's economy and two-thirds of the population gathered at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires.

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A young woman in China said she was already living with the impacts of climate change, while another woman standing in front of a building destroyed by a wildfire said, "This used to be my home". "For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life and death".

We're facing a man-made disaster of global scale.

"We need serious solutions from serious leaders, not unsafe schemes and political tricks aimed to keep big polluters polluting", she said. "We require deep transformations of our economies and societies". "This must be powered by multilateral cooperation".

COP24 comes on the heels of the G-20 gathering in Argentina, where 19 of the 20 leaders signed a communique reaffirming their commitment to fight global warming, but President Donald Trump insisted on a paragraph outlining his opposition and the U.S. decision, under his administration, to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.

A process to enable countries to announce efforts by 2020 to ramp up their domestic ambition on cutting greenhouse gas emissions must be launched, they said, as current efforts are not enough to prevent unsafe temperature rises.

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

Governments around the world are taking aim at combatting climate change.

"We achieved success in Paris because negotiators were working toward a common goal", and called for urgent collaboration to "ensure that the bonds of trust established in Paris will endure".

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