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BFA Seattle Conference| Views about Climate Change
Origin:Boao Forum for Asia      Time:2014-09-12 10:35:41    Views:506872

Boao Forum for Asia
Energy, Resources & Sustainable Development Conference

Session 1 ,September 10, 2014
New Findings on Climate Change: What Does This Mean for the Sustainability of Planet Earth?

Moderator: Jonathan WOETZEL, Head of Energy and Urbanization, McKinsey & Company
Panelists:
l  CHEN Feng, Chairman of the Board, HNA Group
2  JIANG Xiaosong, President & CEO, Hainan Grand Lecheng Development Holdings Co.
3  Thomas LOVEJOY, University Professor, George Mason University; Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation
4  Rajendra PACHAURI, Chairman, IPCC
5  QIU Baoxing, Former Vice Minister, Ministry of Housing & Urban/Rural Development

Key points:
l  Climate change is threatening the sustainability of human civilization and all countries should take action immediately
2  Carbon emission in China will ldramatically decrease after the peak of its urbanization in 10-15 years  
3  While environmental protection is the common obligation of all mankind, developed countries should take more responsibility for today's environmental problems
4  Developed countries should help developing countries to build green cities to reduce greenhouse gas emission
5  Environmental protection is expensive, but the benefits will outweigh the costs l

Climate change causes global warming, and it is difficult to reverse the situation in a short term. Mr. Pachauri addressed that humans need to take immediate action to slow down global warming and the benefits of environmental protection will outweigh the costs.

Climate change and sustainable development are intimately interconnected. Human civilization caused greenhouse gas emissions and lead to climate change. Human development is not sustainable if climate change continues. From the beginning of the last century, global temperature has being increasing 0.08 degrees Celsius every year. Coastal cities are facing great risk from rising sea levels. Two serious consequences will likely to happen at the end of this century if we are not taking action to reverse the trend: heat waves will like to occur once in two years, while the current frequency is once in twenty years; temperatures will rise 4.5 degrees Celsius so glaciers will vanish completely. We cannot allow the climate change to continue because the impact will be so serious that we will not be able to adopt. The cost of inaction is going to be extremely high in economic and human terms, while the cost of action is very low or even negative. 

Chen Feng agreed Pachauri’s view that climate change is a result of the greed of human beings. We have to work together to face the crisis. Three actions should be taken: 1, build a global consensus and joint action plan on environmental protection. 2, developed countries should take more responsibilities to environmental problems. Climate change is accumulated when developed countries developed, so these counties should create a sustainable environment for developing countries to grow. 3, the private sector should combine social responsibilities with their corporate culture and take the initiative to solve the problem.

Qiu Baoxing believes green cities can solve climate change, although industrialization and urbanization are the root causes of this problem. China is meeting its emission peak with urbanization, and the per capital carbon emission will be lower than the developed countries used to be after 10 to 15 years when the urbanization is completed. China is establishing green and environmental friendly cities with diverse means such as water and garbage recycling and public transportation. Buildings need to satisfy 20% of clear energy usage at least. We also want to keep big cites with high intensity, e.g. ten thousand people in one square kilometres (about 250 acres) to eliminate the negative impact on the environment during the process of urbanization.

Protection of the environment is a shared responsibility and obligation of developed and developing countries. About 300USD will be spent to reduce one ton of carbon emissions in a developed country, while is number is around 50USD in China, because it is easier to establish environmental friendly buildings/facilities in a developing country than to replace existed high carbon emission buildings/facilities in a developed country. As a result,   China is the main battlefield of environmental protection action. Developed countries should seize this opportunity to give China more low-cost technical assistance and other support to decrease carbon emissions. This is equivalent to offset the high emissions of developed countries in the history. We need to go beyond national and commercial interests and work together to protect our planet.

Dr. Lovejoy addressed that it is very hard to restore the destroyed ecological environment and reverse carbon emission. But the benefits of environmental protection still outweigh the costs because of the all kinds of additionally benefits including: restore grassland to improve soil fertility and restore coastal wet land to create greater resist to storm surge.