我唸大學時沒有住宿舍，但上星期六（4月18日）上午，我卻參加了由「香港大學畢業生議會」 及 「香港中文大學校友評議會」 合辦的一個教育研討會「港大舍堂/學院教育與中大書院精神 -- 回顧與展望」。主要的原因，是我想借此珍貴的機會，向兩間大學的校友介紹正在席卷全球的「去碳撤資」運動（Global Divestment Campaign）。
Global Divestment Campaign
To: The Standing Committees (& All Members) of the
HKU Convocation & CUHK Convocation,
An Urgent Call for our two Universities (and subsequently all universities
in Hong Kong) to Divest from the Fossil Fuel Industry in order to
Combat Global Warming and Climate Change
Dear Fellow Alumni,
The adverse impacts of human-induced global warming and climate change are growing stronger day by day. Over the past cenury, global average temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius, and mean sea level by 20 centimetres. This has already led to significant shrinkage of the Artic ice cap and extensive melting of glaciers world-wide. Severe droughts, heat waves, wild fires, and super-storms are becoming more and more frequent. Biological habitats are being destroyed and the rate of species extinction ( a loss which is irrevocable) has reached an unprecedneted level.
According to the latest assessment report released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2012, if we continue on our present course, the global temprature will rise by a further 5 degrees, and the sea level by 90 cm by the end of this century. Many scientists consider these projections to be too conservative, fearing that the actual consequences would be far worse.
International efforts to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide – the main culprit behind global warming via the greenhouse effect – has failed miserably so far. With the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen International Climate Conference the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, people the world over have come to the realization that this is an issue too important to be left to the politicians. We the people must stand up and take the lead in this fight for our own future – a fight which we cannot afford to lose.
Initiated by the organization 350.org (http://350.org/), the Global Divestment Campaign launced earlier this year is exactly such a citizens’ action to turn the tide. It is a call for all individuals as well as organizations to divest from the fossil fuel industry, thus giving a clear signal to society-at-large that any further extraction and burning of fossil fuel like coal, oil and natural gas is a crime against humanity.
The organizations targetted by this campaign include all types of NGOs, charity and humanitarian organizations, as well as various religious organizations such as the Vatican. And yet the leading organizations must surely be the universities, the custodians of knowledge and wisdom in our societies. True to their mission, universities such as Standford University and University of Glasgow have committed themselves to divestment. However, resistance in many universities is strong. As a result, students all over the world are pressing their universities – most notably at Harvard and Oxford – to do the right thing.
I am a HKU BSc graduate of 1978, and have been working hard to raise the awareness of the people in Hong Kong to the threat of global warming for over ten years – with public lectures and radio/TV shows, university GE courses, as well as a book titled 《喚醒69億隻青蛙》published in 2011. A few years ago, a group called 文明急救組 was set up together with some of my friends, and numerous articles were written and published on various on-line platforms. Recently, we have formally registered as the Hong Kong chapter of 350.org. A Facebook account titled 「文明急救組@350.hk」 has just been launched.
I deeply believe that both the HKU and CUHK Convocations are uniquely positioned – the popular phrase nowadays is “those chosen by history” - to take up this challenge. I sincerely hope that after due deliberation, the Standing Committees of both Convocations will start a dialogue with the top management of both universities, and work together to realize the goal of divestment from all fossil fuel businesses. This will send out a clear signal to our society that our only hope lies in the “de-carbonization” of our economy, a move which could not be started too soon.
To help you understand the nature of the campaign as well as the enormity of the challenge we are facing, I have prepared a number of appendices. I would be more than willing to join your meetings and explain the science in detail if required.