At-risk nations plead for 'justice' at UN climate summit

The 92-year-old TV presenter blamed humans for the "disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years".

We invite you all to sign this call, we invite you all to increase ambition, and we invite you all to target "Our Health" - Read the COP24 Special Report on Health and Climate Change.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has issued an appeal to world leaders to do more to tackle climate change.

"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 delegates from nearly 200 countries who gathered in Katowice, Poland.

Meeting the mitigation goals of the Paris agreement would be expected to save millions of lives through reductions in air pollution alone by the middle of the century. "We have been bearing the brunt of disproportionate impact of climate change despite being a low carbon-emitting country".

"If we would've never started in that direction and used other technology, we'd be much better off", the actor and former California governor said Monday at the start of a United Nations climate conference in Poland.

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

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 Poland's President Andrzej Duda told a later news conference that the coal-rich country will never entirely give up its "strategic fossil fuel".

With just one degree Celsius of warming so far, Earth is already being subjected to raging forest fires, flooding and superstorms made worse by rising seas.

Despite the fact that little support has been provided by either health or climate finance mechanisms, there are a wide range of proven strategies and interventions to protect health from climate change.

"This is the challenge on which this generation's leaders will be judged", Guterres said.

The bank's announcement comes as delegates from 200 countries started a two week-long climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

"We can not afford to fail in Katowice..."

Tackling climate change would save at least a million lives a year, the World Health Organization has told the United Nations climate summit in Poland, making it a moral imperative.

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.

Vanessa Coleman