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)

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

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read