Enlightening a New Direction for Hong Kong: Metropolitan Ways to Fight Global Warming
Climate change caused by global warming is the most
restructuring our energy production, enhancing energy efficiency,
serious environmental challenge that the world is facing today.
and improving town planning to reduce CO2 emissions. The
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
climate change policy needs to be driven by political will from
warns that climate impacts, including water shortages, famine,
the top with efforts integrated across various responsible
flooding and plagues, are going to affect billions of people
departments. This report makes use of the examples of
during the course of this century. According to the United
Tokyo, London and New York, to illustrate the significance of
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), emissions of the
government leadership and determination in tackling the climate
main greenhouse gases causing global warming, carbon dioxide
problem. These examples show clearly that governmental
(CO2), from the world’s cities, account for 80% of the global
policies to tackle climate change through reducing emissions
Some of the world’s leading cities have heeded this
have to be driven and implemented by one government
warning and are starting to take action. In 2005, 18 metropolises
department to stand any chance of being effective. Hong Kong’s
initiated the ‘Large Cities Climate Leadership Group’ and
administration should be inspired by their counterparts in Tokyo,
jointly agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. As more
London and New York, and take the much overdue first step
cities joined the initiative, including Bangkok, Beijing and Seoul,
by urgently formulating a clear and ambitious goal to reduce
membership neared 40. The group was subsequently renamed
greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the City of London Corporation’s Global
Despite the critical threat that we all face from climate
Financial Centres Index, Hong Kong ranks 3rd after London
change, and the knowledge that other comparable cities are
and New York, with Tokyo ranking 10th.3 As one of the world’s
taking concerted actions, Hong Kong, which claims to be
foremost financial centres Hong Kong must demonstrate its
Asia’s world city has signally failed to act. Although Hong Kong
global vision and clearly state its plans for tackiling climate
has recently joined C40, there is no leadership from Hong
change. The experience of Tokyo, London and New York as
Kong’s government on climate change, and the meagre, usually
global financial centers combating climate change, is worth the
voluntary measures that Hong Kong does have to help cut
Hong Kong government borrowing.
emissions, are very piecemeal and scattered as they come from too may different government departments who don’t talk to each other. Global warming must be tackled by adopting a comprehensive climate change policy, with measures including
1. UNEP, Climate Change: The Role of Cities http://www.unep.org/urban_ environment/PDFs/Brochure_Climatechange.pdf 2. C40 Cities, http://www.c40cities.org/ 3.“Hong Kong ranked after London and New York in Global Financial Centres Index”, Hong Kong Economic Journal, 2 October 2007.
About Greenpeace Greenpeace stands for positive change through action to defend the natural world and promote peace. We are a non-profit organisation with a presence in 40 countries. To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants. Contact Address : 8/F, Pacific Plaza, 410-418 Des Voeux Road West, Hong Kong Tel : +852 2854 8300
Fax : +852 2745 2426
Author: Chow Sze-chung
Editor: Yeung Hoi-shan Design: Leung Kar-bo
Printing: Asia One Printing Limited Date: November 2007 Printed on recycled paper using vegetable oil-based ink
Performance of HKSAR government on tackling global warming Although Hong Kong’s greenhouse gas emissions are
However, China as a developing nation and not an Annex I
a small percentage of the global total, the impacts of global
country, is only required to make a voluntary commitment to
warming are not bounded by geography. The Hong Kong
emission cuts. This explains why Hong Kong, although boasting
Observatory (HKO) measurements show that since the
one of the highest GDPs in the world, does not have to set any
19th century, the average annual temperature in Hong Kong
relevant reductions targets.8 The Hong Kong government has
has increased by 1.2°C, doubing the global average growth
used this as an excuse for not setting up any greenhouse gas
figure.5 The HKO warns that winter will eventually disappear
reduction targets,9 but by doing so has evaded its responsibility
in Hong Kong if the warming trend
Apart from the
as an international city.
environmental, social and economic impacts, climate change also has health impacts, from increase of death rate due to extremely hot weathers, to the spread of previously eradicated infectious diseases like malaria and dengue
is already experiencing some of these impacts, but there is still time to take action to avert even more dangerous impacts. However, time is running out quickly. China is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) as well as the Kyoto Protocol. These were extended to Hong Kong in 2003. Under the Kyoto Protocol industrialised countries (Annex I) are required to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.
4.“Temperature projections for Hong Kong in the 21st Century”, Hong Kong Observatory, 19 August 2004, http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/news/2004/ pre0819c.htm 5. “Hottest summer record at 34.4°C HKO: Winter ends in 40 years”, Ming Pao Daily, 15 July 2007 6. “HKO to explores heat index. 1°C temperature rise doubles the death Rate”, Sing Tao Daily News, 30 May 2007 7. EPD, Characterizing the Climate Change Impact in Hong Kong, September 2004 http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/tc_chi/environmentinhk/air/studyrpts/climate_ change_report.html 8. According to International Monetary Fund, Hong Kong’s GDP ranks sixth in the world. http://imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2007/01/data/index.aspx 9 The Government explained to the Legislative Council that Hong Kong did not have to set its own reduction targets as the territory was not required by the Kyoto Protocol to do so. Refer to Pg.12-15, Legislative Council Proceeding Record, 15 November 2006. http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr06-07/chinese/counmtg/ floor/cm1115-confirm-ec.pdf
Graph 1: Hong
Kong Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Government’s Reduction Measure Government’s Reduction Measures 2005: 1 % to 2% renewable energy target
1995: voluntar y Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme
1997: no more licenses for new coal-fired plants
2004:government premises air-conditioned at 25.5ºC 1998: Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings
As a result the actions that Hong Kong is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is trivial and not driven by any clear, ambitious targets. A report by the Environmental Protection Department to the Legislative Council on 28th May 2007 (Ref: CB(1)1666/06-07(15)) serves as an embarrassing indictment of the HKSAR government’s inaction on climate change: 1995: Adoption of the Voluntary Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme (EELS) for vehicles, household and office appliances and equipment.
The result of the government’s piecemeal, voluntary
1997: Government announced that no new licenses for new
approach to tackle climate change is that Hong Kong’s
coal-fired power plants will be issued. All new generating
greenhouse gas emissions, have grown by 14% from 39.2
units would be powered by natural gas.
millions tons in 1990 to 44.8 million tons in 2005 (Graph 1).
1998: The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department
Only one division in the entire Government has
(EMSD) launched the Energy Efficiency Registration
some responsibility for climate change, the Cross-boundary
Scheme for Buildings.
International Group under the Department of Environmental
2002: The Administration pledged to reduce its power consumption by 6% between 2002/03 to 2006/07 2004: Directive issued to limit air conditioner settings in government premises to not below 25.5ºC in summer.
Protection (EPD). Taking a closer look at the structure of Environment Bureau, which is made up of 3 operational divisions, 4 policy divisions, a cross-boundary division, and a corporate affairs division, there is no one division solely responsible for climate change nor is there any mechanism to integrate work to
2005: The First Sustainable Development Strategy for Hong
tackle climate change across different government departments.
Kong established a 1-2% renewable energy target of the
The ineffectiveness of the present bureaucratic structure in
territory’s total electricity supply to be achieved by 2012.
tackling climate change can be illustrated by the results of the
2005 A technical circular was issued to require all works departments to apply energy efficient features in new government buildings and retrofit projects where feasible. 2005 The Chief Executive in the Policy Address called on power companies to implement demand side management to promote energy efficiency and conservation. 2006 A Code of Practice for Water-cooled Air Conditioning Systems was published 2007 An internal circular was issued to provide guidance to bureaux and departments in fulfilling commitments under the Clean Air Charter.
voluntary Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings pushed forward by EMSD. Only 765 buildings involving 2,118 installations were issued registration certificates in 10 years,10 which is far from successful. In summary, the HKSAR government has no clear emissions reduction targets and no comprehensive climate change policy which takes an integrated approach to Hong Kong’s climate conditions, city characteristics, emissions from energy production, energy efficiency and transport. Despite all the evidence and the concerted actions being taken by other world cities, climate change is clearly not being taken seriously by the HKSAR government.
2007 The Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Products) Bill was introduced to the Legislative Council, which proposed a mandatory EELS which would cover room airconditioners, refrigerators and compact fluorescent lamps.
10. EMSD, Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings, http://www.emsd.gov.hk/emsd/chi/pee/eersb.shtml
This is how it should be done: World cities who are tackling climate change Tokyo, London and New York, like Hong Kong, are the world’s top financial hubs. As such, they are in leading positions to tackle global warming regionally as well as internationally. This report provides a summary analysis of action these cities are taking to combat climate change in order to provide a road map of the key building blocks that Hong Kong needs to take effective action on climate change. The analysis comprises 1) the political will of the respective governments to combat climate change; 2) a policy overview; and 3) core measures and vision.
Political Will “The imminent threat of climate change requires immediate solutions with no further delay. On behalf the Japanese government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government introduces the world’s most advanced strategy – “Tokyo Climate Change Strategy” – and takes the lead in Japan to combat climate challenge.” Tokyo Climate Change Strategy: A Basic Policy for the 10-year Plan for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo 11
In June 2007, Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) published the “Tokyo Climate Change Strategy: A Basic Policy for the 10-year Plan for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo”, a document detailing TMG’s position and policy on global warming. TMG not only has a clear and ambitious CO2 emissions target, but is also taking the lead to formulate a comprehensive, long-term strategy to cope with global warming. This is in contrast to the national government’s inability to come up with an effective and workable plan. At present the target is a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the 2000 level by 2020..
11.Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo Climate Change Strategy: A Basic Policy for the 10-year Plan for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo, P.3, June 2007.
Policy Overview Five initiatives of the policy: 1. Assist private enterprises to reduce CO2 emissions • Introduce a cap and trade scheme as a viable option for the enterprises to reduce greenhouse gases. • Establish energy saving funds to subsidise medium and small enterprises 2. Reduce household CO2 emissions • Promote the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs so that incandescent light bulbs will be phased out in households. • Collaborate with interior design and renovation firms to ensure that homeowners carry out energy-saving renovations, such as installing thermal insulation windows 3. Reduce CO2 emissions in the urban development • Facilities in all newly constructed government-owned
premises shall conform with energy saving regulations • A standard higher than the current statutory requirement on energy conservation shall apply to all new buildings
Core measures and visions The Tokyo Climate Change Strategy introduces the concept of the “city model”, using the “city” as a unit to resolve warming problems. “To transform Tokyo to a ‘low energy society’ is to allow its citizens enjoy an affluent, comfortable urban life while spending the minimum required amount of energy.”12 Rather than segregating policies into different entities such as energy and transportation, using the city as a unit promotes citizen ownership as everyone is an equal stakeholder responsible for dealing with the warming crisis. It also shows that resolving the problem requires the involvement of different policy units and therefore cross-department cooperation is necessary. In 2002, TMG introduced a “CO2 Emissions Reduction Scheme” to encourage large business enterprises to voluntarily release data about their emissions. Those that refused to participate would be publicised. Most enterprises were willing to formulate their own schemes for the sake of their corporate images. The TMG scheme was made mandatory through legislation at a later stage. Enterprises with high CO2 emissions are required to submit a five-year greenhouse gas emissions
4. Reduce CO2 emissions from vehicle traffic
reduction plan for regular evaluation by TMG. In 2005/06, a total
• Formulate rules for the use of fuel-efficient vehicles to
of 1,255 enterprises were evaluated as Grade A in respect of
ensure that fuel-efficient vehicles are treated preferentially
reducing emissions, proving the scheme a great success not only
in all stages of vehicle production, marketing, purchasing and
by ensuring enterprises met the target but also allowing the
public to monitor their commitment to a better environment. To incentivise the enterprises for further reduction in CO2 emissions, TMG has plans to launch a cap and trade system, which allows the enterprises to trade emission quotas. 12.Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo Climate Change Strategy: A Basic Policy for the 10-year Plan for a Carbon-Minus Tokyo, P.1, June 2007.
London Political Will “I want London to become the world’s leading centre for research and financial development on climate change during the next five years.” “The regulations set out in the Mayor’s current London Plan ensure that new developments in London now achieve higher environmental standards than elsewhere in Britain.” Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, Action today to Protect Tomorrow: The Mayor’s Climate Change Action Plan13
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, launched an action plan “Action Today to Protect Tomorrow” in February 2007, with a target of stabilising London and the UK’s emissions at 60% below 1990 levels by 2025. It is far cheaper to invest in low carbon technologies now, rather than ignoring the problem and face far higher costs in the future. The report repeatedly stresses that “to tackle climate change you do not have to reduce your quality of life, but you do have to change the way you live.” In other words, measures for energy saving and energy efficiency will not be at the price of Londoners’ quality of life. Instead, it helps develop the technologies to tackle global warming, positioning London as a centre for research and financial development on climate change. It is believed that by 2025, annual CO2 savings of 19.6 million tons are achievable through actions set out in the plan. Action will be necessary at a national level to save further 13.4 million tons needed each year to constrain London’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Ken Livingston, therefore, promises to lobby the national government to implement tax and regulatory policies that strongly support CO2 reductions and allow extensive investment in renewable energy.
13. Ken Livingston, Action Today to Protect Tomorrow, February 2007.
Policy Overview “Action Today to Protect Tomorrow” includes several initiatives: 1. E nsure existing and new buildings are designed and constructed to high standards of energy efficiency • “Green Homes Programme”, a major campaign to increase awareness about what actions Londoners can take to cut their emissions and reduce their energy bills • Require new developments to prioritise the use of renewable energy 2. Develop lower-carbon and decentralised energy supply • Move as much as possible away from reliance on the national grid but on to local, lower-carbon energy supply (decentralised energy, including combined cooling heat and power (CCHP), energy from waste, and onsite renewable energy - such as solar panels), in order to reduce energy wastage in distribution from large power stations to users.
3. Reduce emissions from cars
Core measures and visions The key new initiative to deliver carbon dioxide savings from the domestic sector is the Green Homes Programme. Around £7 million is set aside in the 07/08 budget to initiate this scheme. It offers homeowners information on what actions they can take to cut their emissions, subsidises the installation of energy-saving improvements, and provides bespoke energy audits. Implementing the home energy efficiency programme would save up to £1 billion per year by 2025, or approximately £300 per year per average household. Moreover, as a significant amount of premises renovation and reconstruction is expected to take place in London over the next two decades, the Greater London Authority will provide financial incentives to homeowners to install energy-saving facilities when renovating their houses. The new Housing Strategy will also make energy efficiency a key priority, including achieving the government’s recently announced target of 100% new homes as zero-carbon by 2016. The Greater London Authority also stresses the
• Introduce a carbon pricing system. Cars entering London’s
importance of driving development of new technologies
central business area will be charged according to their
and the business opportunities thereafter. Energy from waste
carbon emission levels.
through new non-incineration technologies, such as biomass,
4. Demonstrate best practice by the Mayoral group • Follow higher green procurement standards for contracting all goods and services; adopt low carbon technologies and services; improve the energy efficiency of governmental buildings; promote staff energy-savings behaviour.
can generate enough electricity for up to two million homes, and heat for up to 600,000 homes. It is estimated that landbased wind turbines, together with the wind power that exists in the Thames Estuary, are enough to supply electricity to 1.05 million homes.14 The development of alternative energy is a business potential that the authority is actively exploring for commercial viability. The authority is also planning to introduce a carbon pricing system for transport. Cars entering London’s central business area will be charged according to their carbon emission levels. The system is to incorporate the true cost of fossil fuel consumption in prices, reflecting the cost to be paid for its adverse effect on the environment. It is believed that this measure is not only to discourage consumers to use fossil fuels, but also to drive innovation in developing low-carbon technologies and alternate fuels. By developing a market favourable to research, development and financing of low carbon technologies, tackling global warming will not be at the price of economic growth.
14. Mayor of London, Action Today to Protect Tomorrow, P.17, February 2007.
New York Political Will “Slowing the pace of climate change will require concerted action across the world. But we also cannot afford to wait until others take the lead. Nor should we. New York has always pioneered answers to some of the most pressing problems of the modern age.” PlaNYC, A Greater: Greener New York 15
New York’s economic rebound has been faster than anyone can imagine over the past five years since 9/11 and crime is at a forty-year low. However, the challenges it faces today are no less critical than before. Its population will grow to over nine million by 2030. Much of the physical infrastructure is showing its age. The quality of air and water continues to deteriorate. By the end of 2006, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, launched the PlaNYC, a plan envisaging the development of New York City over the next 30 years. A four-month public consultation was held to collect ideas and opinions from the citizens. Over 100 advocates and community organizations were consulted, and 11 Town Hall meetings were held. Bloomberg announced the details of the action plan in 2007, and confirmed that climate change is one of the major challenges for New York. The goal is to reduce the city’s greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030 from the 2005 level.
15.The City of New York, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, P.9, 2007.
Policy Overview PlaNYC has the following plans to tackle global warming: 1. Establish a New York City Energy Planning Board • The Board will oversee and coordinate energy planning within the city, such as reducing energy consumption, increasing supply of clean energy as well as promoting energy saving measures. 2. Reduce energy consumption by City government
PlaNYC mentions a crucial point when reviewing energy planning in New York City: there is no entity capable of addressing sustainable development and the challenges of global warming. There are eight organisations responsible for some dimension of energy planning in the City, but not one of them is designed to take the city’s unique needs into account, and there is no viable energy policy to tackle global warming. PlaNYC, therefore, proposes to create an Energy Planning
• The City government is required to invest, each year, an
Board to coordinate the energy policies among different entities.
amount equal to 10% of its energy expenses in energy-
The City government clearly indicates that the Energy Planning
Board is to marshal coordinated actions and policies among the
3. Strengthen energy and building codes for New York City
Core measures and visions
• Revise the building codes to include more energy saving elements, such as more stringent ventilation standards • Reduce the amount of cement used in concrete. Advocate a different form of concrete production that uses 30% to 40% less cement to avoid releasing CO2 when creating concrete. 4. Increase supply of clean energy • C reate a proper ty tax abatement for solar panel installations • Foster the market for renewable energy 5. Reduce demand among the city’s largest energy consumers Focus on five key areas to reduce energy consumption: institutional and governmental buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, residential buildings, new construction, and appliances and electronics. 6. Reduce green-house gas emissions from automobiles • Expand transit infrastructure and improve bus services • Operate congestion pricing: Passenger vehicles entering Manhattan during the business day (weekdays 6am to 6pm) would pay an US$8 daily fee.Trucks would pay US$21.
stakeholders in different entities. This plan will require significant effort, capital, as well as political will. The City will propose an amendment to the City Charter that will require it to invest 10% of its energy bill in research and promotion of energy-saving measures.The City government also promises to reduce its energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30% within the next decade. An investment of $80 million a year by the City government to improve energy efficiency is an enormous amount while it spends nearly US$800 million per annum on energy. To amend the City Charter implies that investment is compulsory. The City government estimates that by managing energy demand and increasing supply of clean energy, the city’s overall power and heating bill will plunge by US$2 billion to US$3 billion annually by 2015.
A message to Hong Kong Like Tokyo, London and New York, Hong Kong is a world city and the Administration has a ready made road map for tackling climate change if it learns from these
3. C oordination a mong dif ferent entities for a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions
cities’ experiences, including:
Transpor tation, housing and electricity supply are all relevant to energy consumption and greenhouse
1. Political will to tackle global warming
gas emissions. To cope with global warming is not the
The challenge of global warming is a difficult reality.
sole responsibility of a single entity in a government
Decision makers should have a determined political will
administration. Tokyo takes the whole city as a unit when
to tackle the problem. The above-mentioned three cities
developing strategy to cope with warming crisis. London
have a high degree of self-understanding of their maturity
and New York also have a broad strategy, which includes
and commitment to cope with the challenge, and they are
enhancing energy efficiency, improving transpor tation
taking the lead in their countries as well as in the world to
networks, revising the building codes to include more
establish stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards. Tokyo
energy saving elements, and developing renewable energy.
government is determined “to take the lead to resolve
A higher level and comprehensive strategy is crucial to
the problem of climate change nationally and to launch
coordinate policies of different entities.
the most advanced strategy globally. London’s Mayor leading centre for research and financial development on
4. Combating global warming without sacrificing economic growth
climate change. New York City’s government is devoted to
The core value of sustainable development is to
Livingstone is committed to make London the world’s
being a pioneer in tackling the warming crisis.
strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development. The experiences from London
2. Clear greenhouse reduction targets
and New York prove that combating global warming does
A clear target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is
not undermine financial growth. Instead, it is a business
a prerequisite for a workable strategy. This can be found
oppor tunity. New York City government estimates that
in those three cities. Tokyo’s target is a 25% reduction
the city’s overall power and heating bill will plunge by $2
on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 using the levels in
billion to $3 billion annually by 2015 from energy savings
2000 as a benchmark. London is determined to cut 60%
and using clean energy. London is determined to take
emissions by 2025 with 1990 as a base. New York’s target
the business opportunity from developing and investing
is to reduce the city’s greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030
in environmental technologies. It is estimated that by
from 2005 level. A clear target to reduce greenhouse gas
taking these measures £1 billion of energy expenses will
emissions is the only way to allow the public to monitor
be saved in the coming two decades. These all show that
the effectiveness of the government’s measures.
coping with warming crisis and economic development are not mutually exclusive.
Graph 2: Comparing
the 4 Cities
Ranking in Global Financial Centre Index
GPD per capita
GHG emissions per captia
GHG reduction target
By 2020, 25% below 2000 level
By 2030, 30% below 2005 level
By 2025, 60% below 1999level
Information sources 1. City of London Corporation, The Global Financial Centres Index, September 2007.
4 Mayor's Office of Operations, Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions, April 2007.
2. Price Waterhouse Coopers, UK Economic Outlook, March 2007.
5. Office for National Statistics,.London : Selected Key Statistics.
3 Tokyo Metropolitan Government,Tokyo Statistical Yearbook 2005.
6. EPD, Air Pollutants and Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory (1990-2005)
Greenpeace’s recommendations Authorise Environment Bureau head to coordinate a global warming policy
• Develop renewable energy A study by EMSD shows that wind energy in Hong Kong is
Global warming and climate change currently has a
enough to meet the electricity demand of a population of two
very low priority on the HKSAR Administration’s agenda. At
millions.18 Greenpeace’s report Wind Guangdong indicates
present only the Cross-boundary International Group under
that the installed capacity of wind power in Guangdong could
EPD is responsible for global warming issues. The HKSAR
reach 20,000 MW by 2020, and that cooperation between
Administration has to consider the possibility of authorising the
Hong Kong and Guangdong is necessary to develop wind
Head of Environment Bureau to coordinate global warming
power.19 The Sustainable Development Council’s target to
policy to bring the issue to a higher decision making level.
supply 1% to 2% renewable energy in Hong Kong by 2012 is too conservative.
Set greenhouse gas reduction targets The volume of greenhouse gas emissions has been increasing over the last decade. Hong Kong, like China, is not bound to the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol. Yet, Hong Kong is a developed region and should be able to
reduce emissions. While China, as a developing country, is paying attention to the warming crisis by issuing The China National Climate Change Program, Hong Kong as the most prosperous city in China should take the lead in setting a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Develop a comprehensive strategy to tackle global warming The HKSAR Administration should have a comprehensive strategy against global warming, which should include: • CO2 should be listed and regulated as a pollutant At present only sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, respirable suspended particulates etc are listed as pollutants under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Specific Process). CO2, a substance highly detrimental to the environment, should be included in the definition of “noxious or offensive emissions”16 The EPD is now reviewing the air quality objectives. The SAR Administration should take this opportunity to provide a legal framework to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases by amending the ordinance and adding CO2 as a pollutant. • Regulate power plants’ CO2 emissions As Guangdong and Hong Kong have pledged that by 2010 they will cut regional emissions, the HKSAR Administration has set standards for power plants in Hong Kong to cut emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and respirable suspended particulates. Power plants are the major source of air pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions in Hong Kong, accounting for 70% of the total CO2 emissions.17 The HKSAR Administration should include targets for cutting emissions of CO2 by power plants when formulating the new Scheme of Control Agreement.
Although the HKSAR Administration suggests that the New Scheme of Control agreement will provide incentives to power companies to develop renewable energy, the electricity market in Hong Kong is not yet open to attracting more renewable energy suppliers. In Stage II Consultation Paper on Future Development of the Electricity Market in Hong Kong, it is suggested that the new Scheme of Control Agreement is valid for 10 years, and the HKSAR Administration will study the possibility of opening up the market for appropriate competition when the agreement expires. The HKSAR Administration should delay no more to research and develop policy for the opening up of the electricity market in the future and to provide incentives for fostering a favourable market for renewable energy. Moreover, co-operation with Guangdong is necessary for development of renewable energy in the region. • Enhance buildings’ energy efficiency The voluntary Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings launched by EMSD attempts to promote the Building Energy Codes, but its impact is far from satisfactory. The HKSAR Administration should make the codes mandatory so as to enhance buildings’ energy efficiency. Also, subsidies or loans should be available to homeowners to install energy saving improvements. • Phase out energy wasting domestic appliances such as incandescent light bulbs The HKSAR Administration should legislate on minimum energy performance standards for electrical appliances and restrict sales of electrical appliances that fail to meet the standards. Incandescent light bulbs should be phased out first in this scheme. 16. Air Pollution Control Ordinance Section 43(1)(a) 17. PD, Hong Kong Greenhouse Gas Emission Sources, December 2006 http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/tc_chi/environmentinhk/air/data/files/bar_ghg.pdf 18. EMSD, Study on the Potential Application of Renewable Energy in Hong Kong: Stage 1 Study (Executive Summary), December 2002, http://www.emsd.gov. hk/emsd/e_download/wnew/stage.pdf 19. Greenpeace, Wind Guangdong, October 2005 http://www.greenpeace.org/ china/zh/press/reports/wind-guangdong
Enlightening a New Direction for Hong Kong: Metropolitan Ways to Fight Global Warming