KATOWICE, Poland – An international summit that aims to review the threat posed by global climate change opened in Poland on Monday with a stark warning that governments needed to move away from fossil fuels and opt for green energy policies.
Speaking at the UN’s COP24 conference in Katowice, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said for many people in the world, climate change had already become a matter of life and death.
“Dear friends, we are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change,” the former Portuguese prime minister told the gathered delegates. “Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late.”
He said green energy policies represented an investment for nations that would be less costly than the havoc wreaked by adverse weather brought on by rising temperatures.
“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,” he said.
He added that the countries most responsible for greenhouse emissions were behind on keeping their pledges regarding the Paris Agreement, the international accord that is set to come into effect in 2020 in a bid to limit global warming to 1.5C (34.7F).
Guterres said renewable energy would need to supply two-thirds of the world by 2050, with a relative reduction in fossil fuels to achieve Paris Agreement targets.
COP24 will run until Dec. 14 and includes the participation of delegates representing some 197 countries.