Climate: Better future eyed for the planet
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.”