COP23 climate conference "a pivotal moment": UN chief

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Secretary General António Guterres speaking to the media in October 2017. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The COP23 Climate Change Conference taking place in Bonn, Germany, is "a pivotal moment" when the world needs to come together and accelerate climate action.

That's according to UN chief António Guterres, speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters on Friday, before leaving on a trip to Asia and Europe.

More details from Matt Wells.

The Secretary-General said latest data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) showed concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the chief cause of global warming, were at their highest level in 800,000 years.

Other data shows that greenhouse gas levels will be so high by 2020, that reaching the reduction targets agreed in the historic Paris climate accord will be "extremely difficult to meet", said the UN chief.

Every country in the world now, except the United States, has agreed to try and limit CO2 emissions, to below 2 degrees, by 2030.

"These reports send two clear messages: accelerate climate action – and raise ambition. At the Bonn conference, I will press for progress in five ambition action areas. First, emissions.  The window of opportunity to meet the 2-degree target may close in 20 years or less; and we may have only five years to bend the emissions curve towards 1.5 degrees.  We need at least a further 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2020."

Mr Guterres said countries most vulnerable to climate shocks, needed more help to withstand extreme weather conditions, and the $100 billion annual commitment for developing countries to combat climate change, needed to be honoured.

The UN chief announced that he would convene a climate summit in September 2019, to mobilize the world's "political and economic energy at the highest levels."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'24"

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