MADRID, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The high-level segment of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP25) kicked off here on Tuesday with an urgent call that the international community is running out of time to address the climate crisis effectively.
The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, called on governments to reach an agreement this year "to create pathways of hope in 2020 and beyond."
Espinosa called for an agreement to regulate the carbon credit market, which she said is the biggest stumbling block facing countries.
"Achieving this agreement is essential to respond to the climate crisis," she said, recalling that this section is the only one in which the private sector participates directly.
The president of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was also present at the opening of the meeting. He joined Espinosa in warning the governments to act urgently.
"We have to act now and we have to act for the next generation. I am confident that we will make it," he said.
Muhammad-Bande said that the Paris Agreement is the only universally binding agreement to address climate change and called it a "milestone of multilateralism," because current national contributions are not enough to keep the global temperature increase below the 1.5-degrees Celsius.
The Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, pointed out that "it is not enough that this conference, traditionally focused on establishing important rules for common action, remains in that phase."
She said the message of the United Nations Environment Programme, which reveals that ten years have been lost in this fight, was "striking and chilling."
The message of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we have ten years left to avoid a climate catastrophe gives hope but is "challenging", she added.
According to Ribera, "this is a different COP, a different conference... in which we are entering a new phase with great dynamism on the part of a society that is asking for more action ... and I am sure that this will have implications for our work in view of the next summits."