Why are we Talking about 2050?
Climate Action Plan 2050, Carbon Neutrality before 2050, Net Zero by 2050 – all related to year 2050. We can see the United Nations, countries, companies and NGOs they all talk about 2050. Why 2050?
Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. In recognition of this, the overwhelming majority of countries around the world signed the Paris Agreement in December 2015, one of the goals of which is to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C. In doing so, these countries, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide a Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissions pathways. The October 2018 IPCC reported Global Warming of 1.5°C highlights that global annual emissions need to be reduced to about 50% from emission levels at that time by 2030 in order to limit global warming to 1.5˚C. This goal will only be achieved if net emissions are reduced to zero by around 2050.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at Conference of Parties COP21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Bottom line: 1.5 degrees Celsius
A temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius places millions of people at risk of potentially life-threatening heatwaves and poverty. The same thing happens underwater, coral reefs that support entire ecosystems around the world are all but eradicated worldwide. Seas swallow even more of our cities. And that’s just for starters. The Day After Tomorrow is a disaster movie but the story explains that some of the basic background is right: humans are indeed increasingly changing the climate and this is quite a dangerous experiment.
Coral reefs face almost complete die-off
The oceans are warming along with the atmosphere, since they are absorbing much of the excess heat generated from climate change. When temperatures rise, corals expel the microscopic algae inside them, losing their food source in the process. Sometimes the corals can recover, but increasingly, they are dying off. The Great Barrier Reef has been ravaged by repeated marine heat waves over the last five years, turning much of it into a ghostly white color.
To save our planet
There is no one who would like to see the beautiful natural scenery gone. To save our planet, we can all contribute by using less energy or using more efficient energy. Energy efficiency delivers a number of environmental benefits. A significant reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, both direct emissions from fossil fuel combustion or consumption, and indirect emissions reductions from electricity generation. Efficiency in energy use is one of the most effective ways to meet energy demand with less energy use, which is crucial in most of the IPCC greenhouse gases emissions pathways limiting global warming to 1.5oC. Electric lighting consumes a substantial amount of energy in all sectors, including commercial offices, shopping malls, factories, and households. The use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy and natural daylight can contribute to the reduction of global warming.
Climate Action Plan 2050
The Hong Kong Government announced Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 in October 2021, setting out the vision of “Zero-carbon Emissions‧Liveable City‧Sustainable Development”, and outlining the strategies and targets for combating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality. It is in line with the 2020 Policy Address that the Hong Kong would strive to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050.
Let’s take action today to save our planet. Never too late.