A summit will take place in Copenhagen in December to follow up on the Kyoto Pact on reducing greenhouse gases. It is a chance for the leaders of the developed world, especially US President Barack Obama, to establish a new world order of global environmental protection, where our planet comes first and humanity serves to nurture the planet, not destroy it. It's not every day our leaders have the opportunity to establish a new world order. Previous opportunities ended with the second world war and the cold war. But there will be no need to wage war to save the planet from greenhouse emissions. Mother Earth is happy to capitulate to humanity, knowing that while she may lose the battle, she will ultimately win the war - humankind will surely become extinct before she will. By ignoring the signs of global warming, we seal our fate. In the past, technology has helped us save the day, but can it do so this time? Climate change may already be irreversible. Signs of it are everywhere, the most obvious being the accelerated loss of the world's glaciers. Mount Kilimanjaro no longer carries a snowcap. The glaciers of Greenland are melting at an alarming rate and sliding into the sea; the melting water is lubricating their passage over the underlying rock. Satellite photos from all over the planet reveal the same pattern of lost glaciers. Shipping is looking for an all-year passage through the Arctic Sea as the North Pole melts. Scientist think that once a tipping point is reached, there will be nothing we can do to stop our trip to oblivion. So let's hope for progress at Copenhagen; failure to reach an agreement could spell doom, with the blood of billions on world leaders' hands. The summit is fraught with difficulty. Developing countries feel limiting greenhouse gases could curb their economic growth. The developed world has already reaped the wealth that comes from burning fossil fuels. No wonder the developing world is crying foul. The developed countries generate most of the greenhouse gases, so they can do much domestically to fix things. China has proposed that 1 per cent of the gross domestic product of developed countries be used to further any plans made at the Copenhagen summit, including scientific research, compensation, funding of projects and incentive schemes. The US climate envoy has said the Chinese proposal is 'untethered in reality'. I find this statement odd, coming from the representative of a country that spends well over US$700 billion a year on its military. One per cent of US domestic gross product amounts to about US$130 billion. US military spending equals the total military spending of the next 15 top military spending countries. If the US and other militarised developed countries minimised their military spending, we could easily pay the costs of any Copenhagen agreement and send man back to the moon with plenty of spare change with which to fight world hunger and poverty. Democracy is now faced with its greatest challenge. We must overcome our shortsightedness and put our future before our immediate gains. We must step back to see the big picture and realise that the whole is made up of our individual parts, where our daily decisions influence world events more then any one individual can comprehend. For Hongkongers, it is vital we continue to call on our government to continue to become greener. We need to make daily changes in our lives to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our individual carbon footprint. Start by analysing your energy use and find ways to minimise it. By purchasing that new energy-efficient air conditioner or light bulb, you are not only reducing energy emissions personally, you also promote a greener industry by giving it financial incentive. Look at the way you travel to work because transport is the second most polluting factor after electricity production. Demand that the government implement more incentive schemes for green industries. We need better forestry management. Surprisingly, we need to cut down forests and then replant those forests. This is because it is the rapid growth of juvenile trees that absorbs atmospheric carbon; old trees do little. We need to recycle our waste, capture that methane from our garbage sites and reuse it. Sure it's not exactly a profitable industry, nor is it particularly clean, but it's much better than just allowing the methane to escape into the atmosphere. Turn off lights and air conditioners, open a window. It all begins with the individual.