【Press Release】Friends of the Earth (HK) Response to the 2022 Policy Address - Government must close gap between vision and policy
executive announced the "2022 Policy Address” today. Friends of the Earth (HK) welcomes the move to introduce a bill to regulate disposable plastic tableware
and other plastic products. We also acknowledge the preparation to set up a
supersite for regional air quality laboratory and meteorology monitoring for
strengthening collaboration on climate change and air pollution within the
Greater Bay Area. Still, we are very disappointed with the government’s
environmental policies lacking in long-term vision. Although it targets to
become carbon neutral before 2050, the government has thus far failed to
propose any strong climate policies to mitigate and adapt to the risks and
impacts of climate change.
In response to
this policy address, Friends of the Earth (HK) strongly urges the
government to adopt the following recommendations:
1.Promoting Renewable Energy: Decarbonising
the electricity grid remains the most direct and effective means of carbon
reduction. Hong Kong has to lead and invest in its rich RE potential, green
hydrogen economy, and collaborate with the Greater Bay Area to establish a
clean energy system.
2.Pricing Carbon Emission:Carbon-emitting activities do not yet bear their true cost. Hong Kong has to
put a price on carbon through carbon tax or emission trade to reflect the
polluter pays principle and to drive the adoption of low-carbon solutions.
sustainable consumption:A significant portion of the city’s true emission is hidden in the consumption
of various goods and services. Hong Kong has to address these carbon emissions
and promote responsible consumption and healthier diets.
climate change education and training: Climate education is lacking in Hong
Kong’s school curriculum. Hong Kong has to provide the appropriate level of
training to school educators and update the school curricula on climate change.
It also has to devote more resources into promoting the green industry and
cultivating talents for a green, low-carbon society.
climate adaptation:The weather has gotten more extreme under climate change. Hong Kong has to
better help its citizens adapt to the impacts of climate change, whether it is
strengthening coastal infrastructure, adopting sponge city measure to reduce
flood risk, and more.
1.Accelerating EV transition:More and more international cities are committed to banning fossil fuel cars by
2030. Hong Kong has to tighten the target date in electrifying all public
transportation and commercial vehicles and set more concrete interim targets to
reduce pollution and green the transport network.
electronic road pricing: Traffic congestion from private cars—electric or
not—cannot be ignored. Hong Kong has to establish ERP in central business
districts and busy roads to encourage motorists to adopt sustainable modes of
pedestrian-friendly:Walking and cycling help reduce noise and air pollution, facilitate social,
cultural and tourism activities, and more. Hong Kong has to enable walking and
cycling as viable modes of transport to foster a more pedestrian and
cycling-friendly, low-carbon city.
1.Expanding producer responsibility:Hong Kong has to expand producer responsibility at a faster pace to cover all
single-use beverage packaging formats, other packaging waste, and food waste to
tackle the city’s ongoing waste issues.
urban yard waste:Hong Kong has to address urban yard waste by requiring onsite composting for
urban public parks and gardens, setting up wood shredders on vacant government
sites to be shared by local districts, and providing subsidies for purchasing
the recycling industry:Hong Kong cannot rely solely on waste treatment facilities to handle its waste.
Hong Kong has to modernise the recycling industry and collaborate with the
Greater Bay Area to process recyclables and put recycled materials back into
the value chain again.
urban forests and trees:Urban forests and trees help improve the city. Hong Kong has to realise their
importance in the sustainable development of a liveable city, clearly defining
the role and function of trees as green infrastructure and streamlining the
tree management hierarchy.
our country parks: Hong
Kong has to safeguard country parks, recognising that they do not only serve to
conserve the ecosystem, but also provide a natural carbon sink and a free
venue for recreation and outdoor education to the community.
a sustainable, smart city:Many cities are now digitalising urban services to become more intelligent.
Hong Kong has to build up the digital infrastructure for a smart city
transformation and for a more informed environmental policymaking and
into a regional carbon trading centre: Carbon trading is a potential source
of greenfield investments. Hong Kong should establish a pilot in the Greater
Bay Area immediately to accelerate its transition towards a carbon trading hub
and digital economy.
local green finance talents: Green finance education and training is still in its
infancy for Hong Kong. Hong Kong should fund NGOs introducing ESG and green
finance curricula into schools and postgraduate programmes to expedite ESG
talent incubation in Hong Kong.
As an international
and leading city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong must lead by example. The
government has to address the discrepancy between its touted goals and actual
policies by closing that gap.