'There is no Plan B:' Climate talks kick off in Poland with boost from G20 summit
Negotiators from around the world began two weeks of talks on curbing climate change today, three years after sealing a landmark deal in Paris that set a goal of keeping global warming well below 2C.
Envoys from almost 200 nations gathered in Poland's southern city of Katowice, a day earlier than originally planned because of the large number of issues that need to be resolved by December 14.
"We are here to enable the world to act together on climate change," said Poland's environmental envoy, Michal Kurtyka, who is presiding over the UN meeting, known as COP24.
With further meetings next year meant to build on what's decided in Katowice, he urged all countries to "show creativity and flexibility".
"The United Nations secretary-general is counting on us, all of us to deliver," Kurtyka said. "There is no Plan B."
Ministers and some heads of government plan to join the discussion tomorrowy, when host Poland is expected to push for a declaration ensuring a "just transition" for fossil fuel industries that face cuts and closures amid efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The meeting received a boost over the weekend when 19 major economies at the G20 summit affirmed their commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord.
The only holdout was the United States, which announced under President Donald Trump that it is withdrawing from the climate pact.
"Despite geopolitical instability, the climate consensus is proving highly resilient," said Christiana Figueres, a former head of the UN climate office.