Natural historian Sir David Attenborough listens to speeches during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland.
As state leaders, diplomats and scientists meet at the United Nations climate conference in Poland, natural historian Sir David Attenborough has spoken from the "people's chair" of the need for urgent and concrete action to mitigate global warming.
The aim of the two-week summit is to build on the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord which focused on strengthening the global response to the threat that climate change poses to the planet.
The UN chief thanked Modi for his commitment to increase India's nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement.
"Climate change is running faster than we are, and we must catch up sooner rather than later, before it is too late", U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, said at the beginning of the event.
The World Bank on Monday announced $200 billion in climate action investment for 2021-25, a major shot in the arm for green initiatives but one which needs bolstering by state-provided funding.
Mr Guterres, who spoke at the opening of the conference, called climate change, "the most important issue we face".
"America is more than just Washington or one leader", he said, calling Trump "meshugge" - Yiddish for "crazy" - for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord.
To have any hope of reaching the 1.5C goal by the end of the century, it said emissions from fossil fuel use must be halved by 2030.
"Right now we're facing a man-made disaster on a global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change", Attenborough said.
In a rare intervention, presidents of previous United Nations climate summits issued a joint statement as the talks got under way, calling on states to take "decisive action... to tackle these urgent threats".
Decisions on crunch issues, which may include financial aid for poor countries, are expected to be left to ministers when they gather at the domed conference venue in the southern Polish city of Katowice next week.
While the Polish government claims Katowice is in the process of transforming into a green city, power plant chimneys pumped plumes of smoke into a boring December sky and monitoring sites showed elevated levels of air pollution.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the climate summit in Poland on Monday with a dire warning to world leaders: Act now to combat rising temperatures or there will be catastrophic consequences.
Attenborough, known for hosting nature broadcasts including the popular BBC series "Planet Earth", was chosen for the UN's "people's seat", representing those populations most affected by climate change.
To maximize the chances of success, technical talks began on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, with delegates from almost 200 nations haggling over how to implement the broad promises of the Paris deal on moving away from fossil fuel.
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.
We've got thousands of Australian schoolkids taking to the streets to protest climate inaction, and we've got everyone's surrogate grandpa making his disappointment very clear on a global stage.