Calls for action on climate at youth summit

Delegates and bosses want govermnents to act on climate change.
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

A call to raise awareness on climate change was made yesterday at the One Young World Summit Bangkok, with 2015 highlighted as the turning point to tackle the problem.

The director of sustainability at Berlin-based multinational conglomerate Siemens AG, told the conference everyone had to recognise the threat of global warming and play a part in reducing global carbon dioxide emissions to less than 1,000 gigatons this century.

Rabe said it was imperative the rising world temperature did not increase by more than two degrees Celsius.

He said this year was the critical time before the point of no return.

"Since the industrial revolution, we have emitted 2,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and we approximately release 40 to 50 gigatons of carbon dioxide every year. If this trend continues, the global temperature will rise five degrees Celsius by the end of this century," he said.

He warned that if such a scenario happened, a tremendous impact would be felt worldwide and Bangkok would be submerged under water - the same as most coastal cities around the world.

"Even with the COP (Paris Climate Conference) pledges to reduce the CO2 emissions, the temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius in the year 2100. We have to do more than that by limiting the CO2 emissions to no more than 1,000 gigatons, which means we have to leave three quarters of all fossil fuels underground and use 'clean' energy," he said.

At the summit, delegates recorded video messages to their governments expressing their angst over global warming.

Barbados delegate Shamelle Rice, 28, was one who recorded a message.

"I want to raise the awareness of global warming among the people of Barbados because in my country many people don't even know about climate change and I want my government to do something on this issue," Rice said.

She said Barbados, an island country in the Caribbean, had already felt the impact of global warming as the temperature was getting hotter and the coastline was eroding.

"I believe that the best way to prevent the worst of climate change is to inform people with the real facts," she said.

On a bright note, Rabe said that with the pace of technological developments he was sure our reliance on fossil fuels could be reduced.

He predicted there would be a wider use of electronic vehicles and cheap clean energy in the near future.

"Just recently, the United Kingdom announced that they will shut down all coal power plants within 2025. This is a very good progress that I wish other countries will follow," he said.