The Paris process faces a moment of truth next year when governments are due to unveil more ambitious proposals to cut the production of planet-warming gases in time to stop the climate careering past unsafe tipping points.
"Our war against nature must stop, and we know that it is possible", Mr Guterres said on Sunday ahead of the December 2-13 summit. He said the conference will offer people an opportunity to do so.
A major United Nations science report a year ago reset the Paris accord's threshold for a climate-safe world from 2 deg C to 1.5 deg C, concluding that the global economy must be "carbon neutral" by 2050 to stay under that threshold. Already, average temperatures have increased by about 1C, leaving little room for the more ambitious target to be met.
But Mr Guterres said these pledges were not enough.
"With every passing minute of political inaction, the climate crisis deepens, risking the lives, health and future of more children", their statement said.
What is still lacking is political will - to put a price on carbon, to stop subsidies on fossil fuels, to stop building coal power plants. "Taxing pollution instead of people".
However, the leaders of some major greenhouse gas-emitting countries, including the United States, China, India and Japan, did not attend the summit.
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"We also see clearly that the world's largest emitters are not pulling their weight, and without them, our goal is unreachable", he said. "Extinction Rebellion reminds leaders they can not flee the climate and ecological emergency", the group said in a press release.
The US-based think tank, World Resources Institute (WRI), in one of its media briefs on working of global carbon market explained that the countries that struggle to meet their emissions-reduction targets can purchase emissions reductions from other nations that have already cut their emissions more than the amount they had pledged, such as by transitioning to renewable energy.
He also said that creating a worldwide market for emissions, which is a key element of the sixth article of the Paris accord, remained one of the most contentious issues for negotiators.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has accepted an invitation to become United Nations special envoy on climate action and climate finance from January 1, Mr Guterres said.
Teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, travelling to the conference across the Atlantic Ocean by catamaran, is now expected to land in Lisbon on Tuesday and reach Madrid by train or electric vehicle soon after. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 14 other Democratic lawmakers are part of a delegation to the summit.
While a fast-growing youth-led climate activist movement is pressuring leaders to act, U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to begin withdrawing from the accord last month has cast a shadow over the latest round of negotiations.
Although authorities have stepped-up border controls and cybersecurity measures, authorities have kept the country's terror alert one level under the highest, where it has been ever since extremist attacks in Tunisia and France in mid-2015.