Chief Executive please safeguard Hong Kong’s Liveability

Hong Kong Chief Executive Ms Carrie Lam will deliver her annual Policy Address on October 14th, 2020.  

Friends of the Earth (HK) would like to share our policy recommendations in a four part series in the coming four weeks.  

Here is a preview.

Climate crisis is here and getting worse:

  1. 2019 was the warmest year recorded in Hong Kong since 1884 (Figure 1)1 
  2. July 2020 broke the record on having both the highest numbers of very hot days and hot nights in a month in 136 years (Figure 2)2 
  3. Heatwaves and extreme precipitation will become more intense and frequent3 
  4. Extreme weather events like Typhoon Hato and Mangkhut will become more common, worsening the threat of storm surges (Figure 3)4 
  5. Global warming may aid in the spread of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, making epidemics and pandemics more common (Figure 4)5 

Figure 1: Long-term time series of annual mean temperature in Hong Kong 1885-2019

Figure 2: Daily Mean Temperature recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory for July 2020

Figure 3

Figure 4: Direct climate change effects on disease vectors

Decarbonise Hong Kong, build climate resilience:

  1. Develop the Long Term Decarbonisation Strategy with ambitious targets that are in line with IPCC recommendations—45% carbon reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 20506 
  2. Pursue renewable energy by building up local capacity and trading with regional partners
  3. Research enabling technologies such as hydrogen economy to support renewable energy (Figure 5)
  4. Implement carbon pricing to address market failures and facilitate low-carbon solutions8 
  5. Tighten building energy codes for existing and new buildings and mandate life cycle assessment for new buildings and renovations9 
  6. Set up a dedicated office to address climate adaptation and emergencies
  7. Explore and expand alternative water supply options (i.e. rainwater harvesting, wastewater reclamation)
  8. Research and develop carbon removal technologies10  

Figure 5: Hydrogen Energy Storage

There is less than a decade to act now and prevent irreversible climate crisis. COVID-19 need not be just a setback; this is a perfect opportunity to stimulate green investment, create green jobs, and transition towards a more sustainable Hong Kong. The Government must not plan the city’s recovery to merely return to "business-as-usual” but take the chance to for a just and green transition.


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