Closing Remark: Tammy Tam, Editor-in-Chief, South China Morning Post
(Transcript of Closing Remarks)
Good afternoon, and thank you for attending the South China Morning Post’s inaugural Climate Change Summit Hong Kong.
The past year has been marked by no small measure of disruption and disorder - war in Europe, a global food crisis, economic inertia and inflation have compounded the strain of the ongoing pandemic before the recovery could begin.Yet, climate change remains the principal threat to human civilisation and our prospects for survival and prosperity. Climate issues are woven into the fabric of each emerging concern all around the world. The steadily rising annual mean temperature and sea levels mean that climate change cannot be ignored anywhere - including our own backyard
In Hong Kong, environmentalists have warned of the indirect and long-term impacts on the city because of climate change. Recently our newsroom published a story how climate change has caused recent erratic weather in the city of 1,100 sq km.
We saw a dramatic temperature swing of 20 degrees celsius in 4 days when Hongkongers experienced a sweltering heat of 35.7 degrees Celsius on 29 April, followed by the coldest May day recorded since 1917, with a minimum temperature of 16.4 degrees. This affected farms and agricultural operators. The unpredictable weather that followed prompted the Education Bureau to suspend school classes.
Climate action has to be central to any solution that would restore a favourable course.
Last year, we began to see encouraging signs of progress; COP26 has aligned governments around strategic initiatives with achievable targets and measurable progress. Today we can see that businesses are keen to refine their ESG strategy, favouring measurable, verifiable pledges to measurable action over platitudes. Sceptics should take note of the ripple effects of each and every step toward carbon neutrality and a sustainable future.
There is, of course much more to be done, and yet this is not a storm that we will weather within our lifetime. Climate change will continue to overshadow everything else for generations to come, and the endeavour to safeguard the sustainability of human life on this planet won’t end with us.
Today, we bear the responsibility of giving the next generation a fighting chance. And it is vital that climate remains high on the agenda, no matter what.
Which is why your participation and contributions to the inaugural Climate Change Summit Hong Kong have been crucial. The collective discourse to drive decisive action has been essential to addressing this existential challenge with the diligence that it requires.
For the South China Morning Post, we are committed to providing trustworthy information about this urgent issue that defines our lifetime. Informing our readers about climate change is the first step towards driving a conversation that creates an engaged public that takes action. We hope our coverage will help inform the decisions and actions that Hong Kong and the world now desperately needs.
I am immensely grateful to everyone that has participated today. To our audience, thank you for taking the time to attend. To our speakers and panellists, thank you for sharing your insights and your expertise.