On July 23, 2020, United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, gave his first address to youth around the world since the outbreak of COVID-19, during the Climate Change Global Lectures at Tsinghua University Global Summer School: Calling on all youth around the world to take active leadership in shaping the future recovery. The lecture is part of the Tsinghua University Global Summer School series, and organized by Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC). He was joined by XIE Zhenhua, Special Advisor for Climate Change Affairs of China, President of Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University. And Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ECF), and Chair of the Board of Governors at the French Development Agency (AFD).
Evening of July 23rd, the 15th "Climate Change Global Lectures" concluded its first open-door online seminar, as one of the many lecture series in the Tsinghua University‘s 2020 Global Summer School program, attracting millions of views around the world. The theme of this lecture is "Climate Governance in the Post-Pandemic World".
Guterres begun by thanking Minister XIE Zhenhua for his contribution and leadership in climate actions, and points out that the coronavirus is an unprecedented crisis like no other. He said: “poorly coordinated policies risk lock in or even worsening already unsustainable inequalities, reversing hard-won development gains and poverty reduction, and a high emissions future. More than ever, we need unity and solidarity for action."
// António Guterres’s Honorary Address
Guterres stresses: “global heating is accelerating. The past decade was the hottest in human history. Floods, chronic air pollution, drought and wildfire are destroying lives, businesses and ecosystems. Shortage of food and water are already fueling armed conflict, and there is likely much worse to come without greater action.” To take action, Guterres recommended the six climate positive actions of “Recover Better Together” as a reference, urging youth to innovation, speak out, and drive the recovery towards an inclusive and sustainable future.
// Speech from QIU Yong, President of Tsinghua University
Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University, expressed his gratitude to Secretary-General Guterres and introduced actions taken by Tsinghua University. In May 2019, twelve universities from six continents jointly established the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate at Tsinghua University. The alliance held its first graduate forum from November 17 to 19, 2019. Attracting more than 150 postgraduates from 55 universities across nine countries, where youth participants signed the "Climate Change Youth Declaration." He said, youth are the most energetic and dynamic strength in the society, they should take the initiative to act and boldly assume the responsibility of the era and the historical mission.
// Speech from XIE Zhenhua
XIE Zhenhua, Special Advisor for Climate Change Affairs of China, said, though the pandemic has caught everyone by surprise, but the green and low-carbon development pathway set out in the Paris Agreement is irreversible, climate change should and must remain on the top of every country’s recovery development agenda.
XIE believes that Guterres’ “Recover better together” initiative has become a guideline for countries around the world. XIE Zhenhua emphasized that China has always attached great importance to addressing climate change as an important strategic measure to promote high-quality sustainable development. China has adopted a series of proactive policy actions and has achieved remarkable results. completing its 2020 commitments ahead of schedule. Although the pandemic has severely affected China’s economic growth, China will continue to adopt policies and actions to actively respond to climate change in the future, and make new and greater contributions to global climate governance and green and high-quality recovery.
// Keynote from Laurence Tubiana
Lawrence Tubiana’s keynote speech delivered on new trends in global climate governance and China-EU relations. She said that the speed, scale and content of the post-epidemic recovery plan are crucial for us to achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Green New Deal in December of last year is a roadmap for the sustainable development of the EU’s economy and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Even in the face of the current health and economic crisis, the EU is still committed to a green future. Tubiana pointed out: “The EU Heads of States and Governments this week decided on the European financial priorities for the next 7 years and as a response to COVID-19. Unanimously, they agreed that 30% of the 1.8 trillion Euro package – in total 550 billion Euros – should be spent to finance climate action."
“A pivotal moment, and one where we need both Europe and China, as leading regions and countries of the world, to work together to find pragmatic solutions.” Tubiana stresses the pivotal need for global solutions for global issues, and international cooperation. “Climate is an ideal issue on which to build a new spirit and form of global cooperation. Rather than thinking of recovery plans as well as the upcoming major negotiations – on climate (November 2021), hosted by the UK, and on biodiversity (May 2021), hosted by China – as separate tracks, we should broaden our conception to a diplomacy built around the Green Deal and ecological civilization.” After the speech, Tubiana engaged in an in-depth discussion with audiences on the trend and direction of global climate governance, and sought solutions for the sustainable development of the world in the future.
This lecture was hosted by Li Zheng, executive vice president of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University and secretary general of the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate.
// The host, LI Zheng
“Joining hands to achieve green and high-quality recovery is our common mission and cause.Despite all challenges ahead, we must persist in global cooperation and practice low-carbon development, with which we will reach the sustainable development goals.”
——He Jiankun，Vice Director of the National Expert Committee on Climate Change, and Academic Chair of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University
ICCSD was established in October 2017, with Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Advisor for Climate Affairs, serves as the founding president of ICCSD. The institute committed to building a collaborative innovation platform for interdisciplinary research, talent training, and policy exchange, integrating high-quality resources at home and abroad. It includes dialogue and exchanges, strategic research, education and training. Since inauguration, the institute has successfully built flagship projects such as the "Climate Change Global Lectures " and "Friends of the Paris Agreement", and carried out 2050 low-carbon transformation, climate and Strategic research projects such as coordinated environmental governance, and organized multiple training courses on South-South climate cooperation.
/// Climate Change Global Lectures
"Climate Change Global Lectures" is a dialogue and exchange platform from the Institute that gathers influential world experts in climate, it’s also an elective course for all students of Tsinghua University. The lecture series invites climate leaders to share their understanding of national and global response to climate change, and to exchange actions and initiatives on how to promote global climate change governance. It is recognized as a popular climate insight source, with single lecture view count of more than 100,000.
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