WWF Climateers put their foot down to stop Climate Change

Posted 22 November 2007
22 Nov 2007

WWF launched its Climate Programme today featuring Hong Kong's first carbon calculator and a group of leading individual Climateers committed to taking action to reduce the impact their lifestyles have on the planet.

Hong Kong's first carbon calculator is now available to all at www.climateers.org to allow everyone in Hong Kong to assess the climate change impacts of their daily lives, by providing a personalised 'carbon footprint', calculating the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from their homes and travel patterns.

'It's 2007 and we have a choice – climate change or lifestyle change' said Liam Salter, Head of WWF Hong Kong's Climate Programme, 'For those that choose life, the Climateers programme will provide information, solutions and forums to support people who act to stop climate change. If you are interested in putting your foot down, get in touch and let's find a way together'.

Markus Shaw, Chairman , WWF Hong Kong, said at the opening, 'The scientists have told us that climate change has shifted from being a problem that our children will have to deal with to one that is affecting us all right here, right now. Everyone will be affected yet everyone can help by cutting their personal carbon footprint. Rather than telling people what is right and what is wrong, WWF hopes to start a discussion in Hong Kong that helps people define their own personal levels of responsibility for cutting their carbon footprint'.

'HSBC is pleased to sponsor the Carbon Calculator and Climateers Programme as part of the HSBC Climate Partnership, a global initiative to combat climate change' said Teresa Au, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability of the bank's Asia Pacific Region. 'As the lead partner of the carbon calculator and Climateers programme, HSBC equips its employees in Hong Kong and helps provide the wider community with a powerful tool that tracks and quantifies their carbon footprint – the first step towards genuine lifestyle change for a better environment.'

Renowned representatives from the arts, political and financial sectors have joined as "Climateers" who announced their commitment to reduce their personal carbon dioxide emission. Each individual will reveal their own carbon footprint and discuss the actions they will be taking to reduce their CO2 emissions – from energy efficiency in the home, to increased journeys on the metro, to vegetarian cooking.

The Climateers include:

Teresa Au, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Asia Pacific Region, HSBC (launch attendee)
Bernard Chan, Legco member (launch attendee)
Choy So Yuk, Legco member (launch attendee)
Audrey Eu, Legco member (launch attendee)
CY Lam, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
Michelle Law, Project Officer of Greeners Action (launch attendee)
Leung Man Tao, renowned writer and cultural critic
Liam Salter, Head of WWF Hong Kong Climate Programme (launch attendee)
Yip Wing-Sie, Music Director of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta (launch attendee)

WWF will strengthen the Climateers platform over the next few months providing new information and solutions on where to find energy-efficient products; how to save money while cutting carbon emissions; What fashionistas and celebrities have to say about the relation between climate change and other living trends, Stories about real people witnessing climate change in their daily life as well as forums for finding out how your personal carbon footprint measures up among other Hong Kong people.

Notes for Journalists:
1. Detailed information on the Climateers Programme and more information on the views and the steps being taken by the 9 individual Climateers present at the launch can be found on the Climateers website. www.climateers.org Public queries can be directed to climateers@wwf.org.hk

2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fourth Assessment Report in Valencia, 18th November 2007.

Key Conclusions from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important anthropogenic green house gas. Its annual emissions grew by about 80% between 1970 and 2004. The long-term trend of declining CO2 emissions per unit of energy supplied reversed after 2000.

Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the twelve warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850). The 100-year linear trend (1906-2005) of 0.74 degrees C is larger than the corresponding trend of 0.6 degrees C (1901-2000) given in the Third Assessment Report (TAR).

Observed decreases in snow and ice extent are also consistent with warming
. Satellite data since 1978 show that annual average Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk by 2.7 % per decade, with larger decreases in summer of 7.4 % per decade.

Climate change is likely to lead to some irreversible impacts. There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 degrees C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 degrees C, projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.

In Valencia, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said 'Slowing -- and reversing – these threats are the defining challenge of our age.' 'Concerted and sustained action now can still avoid some of the most catastrophic scenarios'. Full speech

3. WWF Hong Kong's Climate Programme is focused on providing solutions to different groups in Hong Kong. The five person climate team is building a portfolio of projects in addition to Climateers that will to assist Hong Kong's international companies, offices and Hong Kong owned factories assess their greenhouse gas emissions and take steps to reduce them. For example WWF's Climate Savers Programme works with international companies to set corporate level greenhouse gas reduction targets agreed and endorsed by WWF. Companies such as IBM, Lafarge, Sony and Johnson and Johnson have already joined Climate Savers

4. HSBC was the first bank in the world to go carbon neutral in 2005. Globally HSBC works with WWF, The Climate Group, The Smithsonian and Earthwatch through its 'HSBC Climate Partnership' programme. HSBC Hong Kong supports Climateers through its 'HSBC and Climate Partners' programme that has begun by encouraging employees and the Hong Kong community to support the Climate Partner Mission

22 Nov 2007
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