XU WEIWEI and YANG HAN
Addressing climate change－the biggest challenge facing humanity－demands global action and cooperation from everyone, as "every choice matters to our common home", said scholars and media representatives during a webinar in Hong Kong on Friday. "Planet Earth is our only home, and addressing climate change has a direct bearing on the future of humanity," said Zhou Shuchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily. "The future of global climate governance is drawing greater attention, and no country can avoid the crisis. There must be global action, global response and global cooperation," Zhou said while addressing virtual discussions with the theme "Climate Changes: Challenges for Asian Nations". Zhou said that as a key player in the Paris Agreement, China has been proactively implementing balanced and sustainable development that features harmonious coexistence of nature and humanity. China aims to achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and realize carbon neutrality by 2060. Joy Jacqueline Pereira, vice-chair of Working Group II of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the majority of emissions come from the energy and agriculture sectors, in addition to industry, transportation and construction. "Since preindustrial times, we have contributed to 1 C of global temperature rise, and we are already seeing the consequences. At the current rate, it will reach 1.5 C in the very near future," Pereira said in a keynote speech. She called for joint action to change that, as even a small rise in temperature has huge consequences. "The lower we can keep the warming, the better it is. And every year matters. The faster we take action, the cheaper the cost is down the road," she said. Gao Xiang, a professor at the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said China fulfilled its 2020 carbon reduction target ahead of schedule, and China's progress can boost confidence in the whole of Asia in pursuit of green recovery with low-carbon lifestyles and production. Due to different development stages of respective economies, some Asian countries still need to work out a specific post-pandemic action road map to minimize carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and UN ecological agendas while tapping potential for sustainable growth, the panelists said.