Cli­mate: Bet­ter fu­ture eyed for the planet

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Depth -

small cor­ner and spoke with each other”, she said.

“They didn’t know how to join the whole process and how to par­tic­i­pate in many of the events there. They didn’t know how to join the global fam­ily,” Wang Bin­bin said at an event on the con­fer­ence side­lines.

Since then, sig­nif­i­cant changes have oc­curred. Now, young Chi­nese “even want to join some of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. They want to con­trib­ute their own voices,” Wang Bin­bin added.

Yang Tian­ming, a se­nior stu­dent at Pek­ing Univer­sity, is one of those who were ac­tive at this year’s con­fer­ence in Ka­tow­ice. The 21-yearold China Youth Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work mem­ber hosted a side­lines event, Youth Cli­mate Change, in flu­ent English.

Yang said scorch­ing sum­mer tem­per­a­tures and smog in Hangzhou, cap­i­tal of Zhe­jiang prov­ince, trig­gered his in­ter­est in en­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate change is­sues when he was a high school stu­dent in the city.

He said the spe­cial re­port pub­lished by the UN In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change on the im­pact of global warm­ing of 1.5 C above prein­dus­trial lev­els con­cerned him most at the con­fer­ence.

Pub­lished in Oc­to­ber, the re­port high­lights a num­ber of ef­fects that could be avoided by lim­it­ing global warm­ing to 1.5 C in­stead of 2 C, the goal set in the Paris agree­ment on cli­mate change.

Yang said he is very con­cerned over whether the re­port can be con­sid­ered in ne­go­ti­a­tions for im­ple­ment­ing guide­lines for the Paris agree­ment, a task en­trusted to the con­fer­ence.

He said much work still needs to be done to pro­mote Chi­nese peo­ple’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in ad­dress­ing cli­mate change is­sues.

“There is still a lack of pub­lic aware­ness about the risk from cli­mate change. Many peo­ple are not yet will­ing to take ac­tion to change their lifestyles to make them cli­mate re­silient,” he said, adding, “I would like to do some­thing to in­flu­ence other peo­ple.”

He said one of the rea­sons the China Youth Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work took part in the con­fer­ence was to learn about the cur­rent cli­mate change sit­u­a­tion, the progress made in ne­go­ti­a­tions, and to share this in­for­ma­tion with peo­ple via new me­dia such as Sina Weibo and WeChat.

Yang said he has de­voted him­self to some of the ac­tiv­i­ties at the China Youth Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work, such as pro­mot­ing net zero car­bon emis­sions at univer­si­ties and re­search­ing the role shared bikes can play in re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to Zheng, the NGO’s head, the or­ga­ni­za­tion plans to achieve net zero car­bon emis­sions at 30 univer­si­ties on the Chi­nese main­land by 2030. She also said she has found there has been in­creased in­volve­ment at UN cli­mate change con­fer­ences in re­cent years among stu­dents with ma­jors un­re­lated to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Jin Meng, a stu­dent from the School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at Pek­ing Univer­sity, took part in the Ka­tow­ice con­fer­ence be­cause she plans to work for an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion.

She is also con­cerned about the desert con­trol pro­gram in her home­town in the Ningxia Hui au­ton­o­mous re­gion, which is home to three deserts.

Jin said top­ics at the con­fer­ence that con­cerned her the most in­cluded the technologies that could help ad­dress cli­mate change chal­lenges, which she had no op­por­tu­nity to study in her ma­jor. In ad­di­tion to the re­port by the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change, she is also in­ter­ested about gen­der equality, which was ad­dressed at some of the events held on the side­lines.

The 19-year-old, who at­tended as a mem­ber of the You­think Cen­ter, said she has been pass­ing on what she learned at the con­fer­ence to her class­mates.

“I also plan to ap­ply to be­come an am­bas­sador for the You­think Cen­ter at my univer­sity, and want to share what I learned at the con­fer­ence with other stu­dents.”

Yang, the en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence ma­jor, said: “It’s prob­a­bly eas­ier to make the younger gen­er­a­tion aware of cli­mate change than other gen­er­a­tions. As younger peo­ple, we hope to fur­ther pro­mote pub­lic aware­ness through our ef­forts.”

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