Climate action and carbon neutral initiatives "are no longer an option but a must" for the world to ensure sustainable living as we enjoy today, Ban Ki-moon, chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), said Tuesday.
Delivering a keynote speech at a sub-forum of the BFA Annual Conference 2021, Ban said that the global journey to overcome the climate crisis "is a marathon, not a sprint," and countries in Asia are "taking the lead" in the journey towards carbon neutrality.
China "made the pledge that it would go carbon neutral by 2060, which is marvelous, given the size of its economy and industrial structure," said the former United Nations secretary-general at the sub-forum themed "path to carbon neutrality."
"It was once perceived that there were tradeoffs between economic development and environmental protection, but today we live in an era where response to climate change serves as a new important strategy for economic development," he said.
President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Jin Liqun, who also attended the event, shared his views on the topic as well.
A lot of people deem the climate issue as "a kind of tradeoff, which means either you emit or you slow down the economy," Jin said, adding that this mindset "has adversely affected international efforts to promote investment for transition from high carbon to low carbon to zero carbon."
Instead, people should try to "turn this tradeoff into mutual enforcement, which means (that) investment in clean energy, investment in the transition from high carbon to zero carbon would promote a growth rather than slow it down," he said.
The ongoing four-day BFA in China's southern island province of Hainan is the world's first large-scale international conference held this year in offline forms.