Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says

Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says

He told the gathering that the "collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizons" if no urgent action is taking against global warming.

Climate change can affect human health both directly and indirectly.

After a string of damning environmental reports showing mankind must drastically slash its greenhouse gas emissions to avert runaway global warming, Guterres told delegates "we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough".

Climate negotiators of almost 200 countries will spend the next two weeks in Katowice, a city built on coal mining, for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the U.S. withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal.

The United Nations agency said Wednesday that meeting the 2015 Paris accord's goals would significantly cut global air pollution, saving a million lives each year by 2050.

Guterres said in order to achieve that, global emissions from 2010 levels to 2030 must be halved.

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.

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As developing nations begged for vastly quicker action, host Poland was pushing its own agenda: a so-called "just transition" to greener energy which critics fear would allow it to continue burning coal for decades.

But with only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has already seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes made more destructive by rising seas.

Guterres emphasized the need for strong leadership from various countries.

Separately, negotiators will discuss ramping up countries' national emissions targets after 2020, and financial support for poor nations that are struggling to adapt to climate change.

Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, prepares to speak at the opening ceremony of the COP 24 United Nations climate change conference on December 03, 2018 in Katowice, Poland.

The world is "way off course" in its plan to prevent catastrophic climate change, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday as the Cop24 summit officially opened in Poland. "We can't afford to delay action any further".

Residents of the world's smaller islands, many of whom face catastrophic flooding from higher sea levels in a warming world, have been among the world's most vocal backers of measures to combat climate change.

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