Hong Kong, with a fraction of the world’s population, can do little to influence fast-rising global temperatures. But that does not mean doing nothing about the carbon gases behind the increase that will lead to catastrophic consequences for Earth if governments fail to promptly take far-reaching action. The latest assessment of an international panel of 234 scientists provides a grim outlook on the progress made in efforts to keep climate change in check. We each can do our part, although it is up to the biggest polluters, China and the United States chief among them, to cooperate and lead efforts for a cooler future. The report issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , the global authority on the matter, makes clear that every government has a role to play and they need to work together. In the sixth update since 1988, scientists conclude that Earth’s temperature has risen 1.09 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and, under every scenario examined, the critical warming limit of 1.5 degrees is likely to be reached early next decade. That means glacial melt and sea level rises are virtually unstoppable and extreme weather events such as severe typhoons, floods, heatwaves and droughts will worsen. Without deep cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases produced by human activity, land and sea will become increasingly unliveable. It is the grimmest message yet for world leaders, who in signing the Paris climate change accord in 2015 agreed to do their utmost to keep temperatures in check. The update shows that the effort is far from enough, although in the best-case scenario, there is still hope. If “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions” limit the rise to 1.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels to the early 2050s and net-zero emissions are attained, the warming will continue for a few decades and then begin to fall by the end of the century. The report contains timely information for those attending a crucial summit in Glasgow in November. They will be able to review and recalibrate their nations’ policies. But there is also nothing in the assessment that the world did not already know; that unless it aims to cut carbon emissions to zero as quickly as is feasible, there will be dire climatic consequences. Governments also well know that the effort has to be a global one and they have to coordinate policies. We each can make an effort through recycling, being less wasteful and choosing greener alternatives. Hydro, nuclear, solar and wind have to be primary energy sources and there has to be greater investment in seeking innovative solutions. Most importantly, governments need to work together. China and the United States, whose leaders have still to meet, should set an example.