A Hong Kong teen has held a one-man demonstration outside government headquarters urging action on the climate crisis.

climate crisis demo
Ennan Qiu protests outside government headquarters. Photo: Ennan Qiu.

Ennan Qiu, 16, told HKFP that he was taking part in the Fridays for Future global climate strike, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s 2018 youth movement.

Qiu protested alone outside the Central Government Offices, Legislative Council Complex and Chief Executive’s Office last Friday holding a placard urging the authorities to “act now.”

“According to the United Nations chief António Guterres, ‘humanity has a choice – cooperate or perish’,” Qiu said. “We must commit to the drastic change we need for a liveable future and take far-reaching action to reduce our consumption of meat and animal foods, which is currently 5.5 times the international average and the main cause of Hong Kong’s high carbon emissions.”

Last year, Qiu staged a demonstration outside McDonald’s, urging the fast food giant to cut its use of plastic and meat.

Hong Kong has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2035 from 2005 levels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve these goals, an action plan laid out by former chief executive Carrie Lam’s administration plans to focus on net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport and waste reduction.

However, critics worry that not enough is being done to meet these targets, while researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have argued that the city is vastly underestimating its emissions per capita by only calculating emissions produced within the territory’s boundary, and neglecting the emissions associated with the consumption of imported goods.

If the city were to adopt a consumption-based emissions approach, the HKU research team found that “Hong Kong could significantly reduce carbon emission and achieve the 2030 emission target if citizens are willing to switch to a healthier diet with less meat.”

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.