Perhaps the seminal moment for all of us at ADM Capital Foundation in 2018 was the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. This covered the impacts of global warming 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The urgent call for action call from the world’s leading climate scientists considered what might happen if we don’t manage to stem global greenhouse gasses.
The IPCC report threw into stark relief the interwoven nature of our environmental challenges and indeed ADMCF’s programmes. Whether the focus is water scarcity, air pollution, the declining health of our oceans, the biodiversity crisis exacerbated by the burgeoning trade in wildlife product and habitat loss, there are critical and interrelated actions to be taken.
The report highlighted that the world is not on track to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, which would require halving 2016 emissions by 2030 and for us to be carbon neutral by 2050. These challenging targets would require swift and unprecedented mitigation to change how we use energy, occupy buildings, produce and consume food, and transport ourselves. It would mean governments responding to the urgency and data conveyed by the scientific community with potentially unpopular action to transform our economies. Our future must be in low-carbon, resilient societies or we face a bleak and inhospitable future.
The report pushed us to build a cross cutting “climate emergency” theme for ADMCF where previously we had stayed away from specifically establishing a programme around “climate change”. We decided to take up the challenge to build a coalition for swift and dramatic change.
Both the IPCC and a New Climate Economy (NCE) report were clear that we have the science, the technology and the financial resources to rise to the challenge. What we lack is acceptance and political will. Building both, rooted in research, are at ADMCF’s core. Already, through our partnership in the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility, we are helping to develop new “business unusual” business models in Indonesia that respond to the government’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The NCE report also emphasised the positive aspects of transformation: That we can build efficient, liveable cities; low-carbon, smart and resilient infrastructure, promote healthy oceans and restore degraded lands while protecting forests. We can expect cleaner air and water as we consume better and evolve growth that is, “strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive.” This certainly is a vision we share.
And far from costing our economies more, bold action to limit global emissions would, instead, yield a direct economic gain of US$26 trillion through 2030 compared with business-as-usual, according to the NCE report.
Compounding our resolve, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) early this year released a first of its kind report. This illustrated that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating with grave impacts.
Describing an “ominous picture”, IPBES chair, Sir Robert Watson, said, “the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
This only reinforced our commitment to building appetites for sustainable seafood in Hong Kong, reducing destructive consumption through education, stemming the wildlife trade and working to protect habitats.
ADMCF is committed to supporting our challenged region towards a sustainable, inclusive future for people and our planet. The IPCC, IPBES and NCE reports are startling and important reads for anyone unsure why we must act now. Thanks for your support!
Read our 2018 Annual Report here.