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COP24: 'Real crisis is climate, not Brexit,' campaigners tell EU leaders

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Protesters block politicians at COP24 climate conference in Poland
Protesters block politicians at COP24 climate conference in Poland -
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It’s been billed as the biggest climate conference since the Paris Agreement but campaigners say world leaders at COP24 in Poland need to do more to fight climate change.

More than 50 protesters from nine countries held signs that read “change course on climate,” in Brussels on Thursday and prevented government motorcades from reaching the European Council summit.

In a message aimed at European leaders meeting in the Belgian city, they said the real crisis was the climate, not Brexit.

Friday is the last day of COP24 and activists are calling on developed nations to step up their commitments to fighting global warming.

“Scientists say we have 12 years left for radical action on climate change," said Greenpeace EU climate advisor, Ansgar Kiene.

"If by then Europe has not slashed carbon emissions, it will be to too late to avoid climate breakdown.

"As COP24 climate talks draw to a close, we call on European governments to stop pandering to polluters and change course on climate.”

Kiene, later speaking to Euronews by telephone, added: “There’s a division between the developed and developing countries.”

Under the Paris Agreement, developed countries pledged $100 billion USD (€88 billion) a year in climate finance to help developing countries tackle global warming.

However, Kiene said the EU bloc now needs to turn these pledges into action.

Last year, the US dropped out of the Paris Agreement and American president Donald Trump has made it known that climate change was not a concern of his.

In 2015, world leaders agreed to keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.

The Paris agreement does not become operational until 2020, but before then, officials will have to decide on how to measure, report and verify greenhouse gas emissions, and how climate finance will be provided to poorer nations.

Each country will decide for itself how it plans to cut carbon emissions.

Prolonged floods, droughts, and crop loss are just some indicators global warming is real, Kiene said.

This week, Trump's environmental advisor, Wells Griffith, said in a speech at COP24 that the use of fossil fuels and nuclear is here to stay.

In addition, Poland's largest coal producer, JSW, is said to increase output by between 2.5 and 3 million tonnes per year, far exceeding its current plan to grow production to 18 million tonnes by 2030 from roughly 15 million, according to Reuters.

The US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia said they are not taking more action needed to meet the 1.5°C target.

However, China, one of the world's largest polluters, said they are fully committed to meet their emission targets, according to Chinese state media, CTGN.