Friends of the Earth (HK)’s Response to the 2019 Policy Address

The Government announced the "2019 Policy Address” today. Friends of the Earth (HK) [FoE(HK)] welcomes the proposal of Lands Resumption Ordinance in resuming brownfields for housing development. This will help to ease the pressure on destroying the natural environment of Hong Kong to meet housing needs. However, we are disappointed to see the lack of proposed actions on climate change, which is happening and getting worse. The Government is clearly omitting the emergency of a global extinction crisis caused by climate change. 

Resume Brownfield to Replace Reclamation

The Government addressed the plan to kick-start the Lands Resumption Ordinance by resuming 700 hectares of private brownfields. At the same time, the Government proposed the reclamation for developing the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands and claimed that it could increase 1,000 hectares of lands. It is also planning to develop potential of 220 hectares of reclaimed land at Lung Kwu Tan. We restate that Hong Kong has 1,300 hectares of brownfields, which is enough to meet the short-term target of 1,200 hectares. There is absolutely no need for reclamation. We support the Government's proposal of the Lands Resumption Ordinance to increase land supply, but we urge the Government to continually look for and resume more brownfields and withdraw the decision to undergo large-scale reclamation immediately. Reclamation not only destroys marine habitats, but also affects fishery resources and threatens endangered animals. This will ultimately cause irreversible damage to the marine ecosystem and our home. 

Support Subsidy Scheme for EV Charging-enabling Infrastructure

FoE (HK) also welcomes the Government’s new pilot subsidy scheme for electric vehicle (EV) charging-enabling infrastructure. We encourage estate management offices to apply and take advantage of this scheme. We believe that this will make switching to EVs more convenient. The transportation sector is the second largest local greenhouse gas producer. Therefore, over the years, we have been urging the Government to phase out all fossil fuel cars. Infrastructure is a pre-condition to the success of long-term market development. Subsidising infrastructure development will not only enable consumer demand for electric vehicles to be realised, but also stimulate more competition in the market by levelling the playing field for EVs. 

No Ambitious Carbon Reduction Targets

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that the world needs to cut emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The city’s current climate target is impossible to achieve the Paris Agreement 2°C scenario. The Government should adopt more ambitious targets and prepare for rapid decarbonisation before 2050. We are disappointed to see that the Government has made no mention of carbon reduction measures even after the public consultation on the long-term decarbonisation strategy.

Low Carbon Electricity

Electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emission in Hong Kong. We strongly advise the Government to help decarbonise the electricity grid with low-carbon energy sources. At the same time, it should enhance building energy performance to reduce electricity demands.

Promote Green Finance

In addition, climate change is expected to unlock US$90 trillion to invest in climate mitigation and adaptation solutions. The Government should fully adopt the Environmental, Social and Governance Strategy for Hong Kong by the Financial Services Development Council. With it, they can solidify Hong Kong’s position as the green finance leader in the region.

Interested Topic:
City Forestry, Forestry City
Climate Change
Eco City
Green Economy
Nature Conservation

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