Climate and Energy

The less mitigation we do now, the greater the difficulty of continuing to adapt in future.

Stern Review

Overview

According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is reality, and it is more than 90% likely that humans are the primary contributors of green house gas emissions. Numerous independent studies have shown that we must avoid warming the atmosphere by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Failure to do this could mean disastrous ramifications for mankind. 

We are racing against time to avoid this predicament, however even the slightest delay could be fatal. The following issues must be addressed within the next five years:

  • Urgency: Countries must commit towards the development and implementation of low carbon technology. Procrastination makes it increasingly difficult to keep global warming under check. 
  • Global effort: Countries must put aside their differences and constructively participate in achieving a cleaner, greener earth. 
  • Leadership: Governments must agree on legally binding emission targets and must collaborate to develop effective strategies to tackle climate change. 

Even though the Kyoto Protocol does not set legally binding targets for developing countries, WWF China believes that China has a major role to play in the prevention of climate change in the near future. The continuous retreat of glaciers in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, increasing water crisis, growing losses to the economy and loss of life caused by more frequent droughts and floods, etc., constantly reminds us the urgent need for immediate action. 

The WWF China Climate Change and Energy Programme will facilitate the development and implementation of Chinese national policies that encourage a development path that decouples economic development from energy intensity. The Programme will also raise awareness of climate change, help to safeguard endangered ecosystems, partner with business enterprises to encourage investment in low carbon technology development and application, and advocate for sustainable production and consumption. 
 / ©: Steve Morello / WWF-Canon
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
© Steve Morello / WWF-Canon

WWF Actions

In China, WWF is actively working with governments, research institutes, NGOs and private enterprises to increase the awareness and capacity of climate change negotiators, and to help China play an active role in post-2012 negotiations.

Through the ongoing SNAPP 2012 - Supporting National Assessments of Post-2012 Proposals for Climate Protection and Sustainable Development - a steering committee was set up in China. This committee is composed of key government leaders, research institutes, and industry representatives.

As a consequence of this project, key issues have been studied including embedded energy, technology cooperation & transfer and the post-Kyoto regime effects on China. The outcomes of this project will be published at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other related meetings.

WWF's aim is, in addition to contributing to the Chinese government's climate change-related decisions, the SNAPP project will enhance other countries' understanding of China's climate change policies and actions. Based on the platform and partnership on climate change, WWF will continuously seek more comprehensive cooperation with partners on energy and trade related issues to explore and facilitate low-carbon economy development in China.

Facts and Figures

    • Over the last 100 years, the earth has warmed 0.74°C.
    • Arctic temperatures increased at almost twice the global average, and the Arctic sea ice has shrunk by about 3% per 10 years.
    • Significant drying trends have been observed in the Sahel, Mediterranean, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia.
    • The tropics and subtropics have experienced more intense and longer droughts since the 1970s.
    • Extreme weather, including heavy precipitation events and heat waves, has increased in frequency, and tropical cyclones have increased in intensity.
    • The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is at the highest rate since 65 million years. It’s 35% higher than pre-industrial time.