Media News

Friends of the Earth (HK) Response to the 2021 Policy Address : Forward and Backward, Hong Kong Needs to Shift High Gear to Achieve Zero Carbon and Zero Waste

The 2021 Policy Address is released today. It is good to see a greater focus on climate and waste policies after last year’s performance. Friends of the Earth (HK) praises the government for adopting our recommendation to set up an office for coordinating climate actions and decarbonisation strategy. We also welcome the logical decision to have the Environmental Protection Department to oversee resource management—we expect this to improve waste recycling and reduction efforts in Hong Kong.

Friends of the Earth (HK) is however disappointed to hear that, despite the move to resume brownfields, the government intends to further devastate the natural environment through increasing land reclamation efforts and eyeing to develop green belts.

In particular, Friends of the Earth (HK) urges the government consider the following climate policies:

1. Renewable Energy: The target to increase the share of renewable energy to 15% of the energy mix is a far cry from what Hong Kong needs to do achieve carbon neutrality when electricity generation contributes the most to the city’s carbon emission. Instead of relying on natural gas, Hong Kong should be working with the Greater Bay Area to harness the region’s still-untapped potential in solar, onshore and offshore wind, and tidal energy.

2.Carbon Pricing: While Friends of the Earth (HK) supports the move to assess Hong Kong’s potential of becoming a regional carbon trading centre, carbon-emitting activities in the city still do not bear their true cost. Hong Kong should follow the global trend to internalise the negative environmental externalities and put a price on carbon.

3. Low-Carbon Transport: Commercial and public transportation must be electrified much earlier than the current proposed target of only setting a timetable around 2025. This should be supported with walking and cycling policies to promote alternative low-carbon, healthy modes of transport.

4. Green Finance: To strengthen Hong Kong as a regional green and sustainable finance hub, the government embrace international best practices and incubate professionals on ESG and green finance. The city should further support impact underwriting in insurance and insurance linked market to drive sustainable and net zero insurance.

5.Policy Orientation: The government is the biggest and most significant player in driving large-scale changes. Hong Kong’s sustainable, low-carbon shift requires a recognition this should be the overarching goal of the government and not that of a single bureau. Bureaux and departments must work together—and not as silos—to integrate environmental policies in a holistic manner.

Friends of the Earth (HK) looks forward to reading the "Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050” in depth to see how the government intends to lead the city to a climate-resilient economy and future.

Friends of the Earth (HK) Submission on the 2021 Policy Address (link)

Photo's credit: Inhabitat

Interested Topic:
City Forestry, Forestry City
Climate Change

Back To Top