The two-week 24th conference of the parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) technically started on Sunday, but Monday saw the high-level grand opening that also emphasised implementation of guidelines to build trust among nations.
Per BBC, the beloved British naturalist used his time at the podium to issue a dire warning to humanity regarding climate change: "If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".
Negotiators at the United Nations climate talks got down to the nitty-gritty task Tuesday of finalizing the rules for the Paris accord, a landmark agreement by countries three years ago to curb global warming.
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 greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming within the limits of the Paris climate deal.
G20 leaders on Saturday agreed a final communique after their summit in Buenos Aires, declaring that the Paris Agreement was "irreversible".
"We are already seeing increased impacts of climate change in China", says a young woman.
"We are trying to save the world from annihilation, but we must do this in a way that those who live with us today in the world have the best possible living conditions", Polish President Andrzej Duda said.
"Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale".
He has also moved to withdraw the USA from the Paris pact.
In order to prevent that, by 2030, worldwide Carbon dioxide emissions would have to fall by 45 per cent from the 2010 levels and have to reach "net zero" by 2050. That is the most ambitious goal set in the 2015 Paris agreement, which negotiators from almost 200 countries have come to Katowice to finalize.
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UN Secretary-General António Guterres has asked decision-makers to focus on four key things - a solid plan, stepping up climate action, more funding and smart investment in the future of the planet.
Well Mark... the COP24 conference is being described as the most important gathering on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.
Thunberg, who protests outside Sweden's parliament each week and has inspired students in other countries, said absent leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "don't realize how much power they have".
Harjeet Singh, who leads the climate advocacy of ActionAid, said the high-level summit should be ultimately about helping and protecting people, particularly the most vulnerable to the adverse impact of a rapidly warming world.
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".
"Now in Poland, they have to agree on how they will achieve this collectively, we can not fail in Katowice", the United Nations chief said.
The Arc de Triomphe is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement is Done", to celebrate the Paris U.N. COP21 Climate Change agreement in Paris, France, Nov. 4, 2016.
The host nation Poland is committed to coal, the most polluting of fossil fuels.
Of the 10 countries in the world considered most threatened by climate change, seven are in Africa - Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.