Secretary General Antonio Guterres again warned that climate change is running faster than the world and that counter efforts must meet the rapidly rising global temperatures before it is too late. The meeting in Poland is regarded as the most important gathering since agreement on the Paris Climate Change Accords was reached in 2015.
Antonio Guterres is not mincing his words on the subject. Appealing to world leaders gathered in Katowice, Poland of the gravity of the situation, urging bold actions to up efforts to avert what is likely to be a catastrophe if rising global temperatures are not slowed significantly.
“Climate change is the most important issue we face; it affects all our plans for sustainable development, and the safe secure and prosperous world. So it’s hard to comprehend why are collectively still moving too slowly and even sometimes moving in the wrong direction. The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) special report tells us that we still have time to limit temperature rise but that time is running out,” says Guterres.
According to World Meteorological Organisation the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years.
Guterres pointed to the concentration of carbon dioxide being the highest it has been in three million years, and that emissions are now growing again.
“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Outrageous threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon,” says British Environmentalist Sir David Attenborough.
The political unity built towards the Paris Climate Change Accord three years ago has been undermined by a rise in populist governments where short-term national agenda’s trump the collective good. And while the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the agreement, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger believes all is not lost.
“If you look a little bit beyond Washington you will see that it is the states and the cities, its local governments that control 70% of our emissions. And you will see all the extraordinary work that is going on at a state and city level in America. So, the states and the cities are still in. in the Paris Agreement, our financial institutions are in, our academic institutions are still in, the governors and the mayors are still in. The United States is still in. And we’re doing an extraordinary job there at staying in. Yes we have a meshugana leader in Washington, that is not in, that is out. But remember, America is more than just Washington and one leader,” says Schwarzenegger.
While the World Bank announced that it would now give equal weight to curbing emissions while helping poor countries deal with the disastrous effects of global warming.
CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva says, “We are announcing 200 billion dollars of climate finance, of which 100 billion dollars comes from the public sector arms of the World Bank group (IBRD/IDA). What is very important is that half of this money will go for adaptation. We are, for the first time, putting adaptation and mitigation on equal footing.”
The World Bank says the money would also improve weather forecasts, and provide early warning and climate information services for 250 million people in 30 developing countries.