Climate change is 'most important issue we face — United Nations chief

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In 2015, the Paris agreement deal saw nations agree to limit global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and under 1.5C if possible.

"Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale".

If the world is to truly prevent climate change-and the extreme weather disasters and rising seas that accompanies it-the attendees of the United Nations climate conference will have to disagree with Duda.

President Donald Trump has announced Washington's withdrawal from the Paris accord, saying it's a bad deal for Americans, and repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change. Sea levels have already risen more than 8 inches in the last 140 years and extreme weather events are becoming more damaging. To inject momentum, the World Bank Group on Monday said it would provide a further $200 billion over five years from the start of the next decade.

"We are approaching risky climate thresholds, species are disappearing at an unseen rate, lands are degrading at an accelerated pace and global carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2017 after a three-year period of stabilization".

Delegates at the talks said sticking points were likely to include finance and the level of scrutiny associated with monitoring individual nations' emissions.

He played a montage showing people from around the globe who participated in his speech by sending their own videos.

Asked about the recent protests in France, one of which turned into a riot in Paris on Saturday, Rutte said politicians must work to get all of society to back the measures needed to tackle climate change.

"Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it's too late", he said.

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And he added: "The world's people have spoken, their message is clear, time is running out, they want you, the decision-makers, to act now". "It's what I think you could call a distributed leadership, where you have a number of countries - some of them small or medium-sized - really making headway and doing it in tandem with cities and states and businesses". "The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world, on which we depend, is in your hands".

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton, who is in Poland for the talks, said he fully endorsed UN Secretary-General António Guterres's comments about the need to take action.

"We are in trouble, we are in deep trouble with climate change". "For many people, regions and even countries, this is already a matter of life and death".

He implored governments of the world to take meaningful action steps to prevent our planet's destruction.

"In short, we need a complete transformation of our global energy economy, as well as how we manage land and forest resources", Mr Guterres said. "Climate action offers a compelling path to transform our world for the better".

Poorer nations argue that rich countries, which are responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, must help others to fund climate action.

But Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, undermined those messages with a defense of the coal industry.

The remark was also directed at host Poland, which relies on coal for 80 per cent of its energy.

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