We face a new era of climate crisis. July 2019 is the hottest month on record, and we are on track for 2015 to 2019 to be the five hottest years in human history. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is at its highest point in human history; climate-related devastations strike more often than ever, with droughts, hurricanes, heatwaves and landslides regularly attacking our planet, bringing high tolls and casualties, causing huge economic loss to countries and to individuals, particularly affecting the most vulnerable in societies. The latest report of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shows that natural disasters in the region are currently responsible for economic losses of up to US$675 billion annually and affecting close to 150 million people.
The clock is ticking. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we need to collectively ensure that global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees. This means we must reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Such goals might seem too ambitious, but climate change is not a standalone issue that can be ignored given the profound implications it has for all countries and all peoples, including the young generation who will be living with the ever-increasing consequences of global warmings.
時間一分一秒地過去。政府間氣候變化專門委員會(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 的報告表明，我們需要共同確保全球氣溫上升不超過1.5攝氏度。這意味著我們必須在2030年前減少45%的排放量，并在2050年前實現碳中和。這些目標似乎過于雄心勃勃，但考慮到氣候變化對所有國家和人民所產生的深遠影響，全球變暖日益嚴重所產生的后果年輕一代將首當其沖，我們絕不能將氣候變化孤立開來，不能小覷其可能產生的后果和影響。
Faced with this reality, it is impossible to ignore that human development can only flourish if the natural world flourishes. This is the premise of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals that have become more urgent looking forward to the next decade. How can we as the global community work together as one?
To boost ambition, reinforce strong political will and encourage concrete actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on 23 September during the UN General Assembly. The Summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a 'net zero' economy. The message is clear: we need concrete, realistic plans to enhance countries' nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to achieve 'net zero' emissions by 2050.
As the second largest economy in the world, China has played a critical part in committing to the Paris Agreement and its leadership and commitment is crucial in achieving the goals. The country has made remarkable progress in developing its green economy, with more than US$125 billion dollars' investment in renewable energy in 2017. New renewable energy jobs in China now outnumber those created in the oil and gas industries. Under the 13th Five-Year Plan, China has already exceeded full three per cent of its target, to reduce energy intensity by 15 per cent. The country is also the global leader in the adoption of electric buses, with an estimation of 18% of China's total bus fleet being electrified according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This demonstrates a significant increase in the importance of non-fossil fuel from previous five-year plan targets. The benefits China has reaped from fostering its renewable energy sector and the green economy also offer a prime counter-example to the mistaken belief that economic vitality and growth is incompatible with efforts to combat climate change.
As the global challenge that does not respect national borders, climate change is an issue that requires solutions to be coordinated at the international level, with demand for all developed countries taking up greater responsibilities, and for developing countries moving toward low-carbon economy. In the meantime, as the world’s most populous country and one of the largest carbon emitters, China can play an even more vital role in tackling global climate change by maximizing its enormous potential for emission reduction and accelerating the current positive.
The UN is committed to working with the government of China, the private sector, NGOs, youth and other key stakeholders to support climate change reduction efforts in China, to raise awareness and build the next generation of climate leaders, as well as China's growing support to other developing countries. Under initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative, UN and China can work closely together to make the best use of the investment in infrastructure to promote the transition from fossil fuel-intensive economy to green and low-carbon economy in developing countries and ensure the initiatives are in line with sustainable development goals. South-South Cooperation can also facilitate the exchanges of climate solutions - bringing China's successful practices to developing world and customize the methodology to best serve the local context and needs. Considering the scale of China's commitments, the potential impact these global engagements will have is unparalleled. Therefore, the UN is ready to continue its partnership with China to ensure that an agenda of environmental sustainability, of climate change mitigation and resilience is placed first and foremost at the head of China's global development initiatives and investments.
Climate change is running faster than we are and we need to have a much more ambitious approach in what we do in order to defeat climate change – as this is a race that we can and must win.