United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said climate-related devastation was striking the planet on a weekly basis and warned on Sunday that urgent action must be taken to avoid a catastrophe.
We are here because the world is facing a grave climate emergency, Guterres told a two-day Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting to prepare for a Climate Action Summit in New York in September.
Guterres said destructive climate change was moving at an increasingly fast pace. Climate disruption is happening now ... It is progressing even faster than the world's top scientists have predicted, the UN secretary general said.
It is outpacing our efforts to address it. Climate change is running faster than we are, he said.
Every week brings new climate-related devastation ... floods, drought, heat waves, wildfires and super storms, Guterres said.
He warned the situation would only deteriorate unless we act now with ambition and urgency, but some of the world's decision-makers still did not realize the dangers.
The meeting in Abu Dhabi, with government and civil society participants from dozens of countries, will select from 100 proposals for protecting the climate, said UN special envoy Luis Alfonso de Alba.
The selected proposals will be submitted to the summit in New York.
The UN chief held out hope that the Paris Agreement could cut harmful emissions and reduce global warming.
But we know that even if the promises of Paris are fully met, we still face at least a three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century - a catastrophe for life as we know it, Guterres said.
He was convening the Climate Action Summit because many countries were not even keeping pace with their promises under the Paris Agreement.
Under the Paris Agreement, the world is required to keep temperature rise under two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
France's secretary of state for ecological and inclusive transition, Brune Poirson, taking part in the Abu Dhabi meeting, called for mobilizing private financing, to fund climate programmes and actions.
What we have to do is mobilize more private capital and instead of having private money invested in coal projects ... it should be invested in renewable energy, she said.
She called on developed countries to fulfil their pledge under the Paris Agreement to transfer US$100 billion to developing nations.
A landmark report last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a safer cap of a 1.5 degree rise would see nations rapidly slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions via a sharp drawdown of fossil fuel use.