A climate action checklist by Friends of the Earth (HK) for the HK government (Issue Date: 19 November 2021)
| Dr Jeffrey Hung, Chief Executive Officer of FoE (HK)
26th United Nations Climate Change Conference ended on 13 November and finally
reached the "Glasgow Climate Pact", the first climate agreement that clearly
stipulates the gradual phase-out of coal. The two largest greenhouse gas
emitters in the world, China and the United States, also issued the "U.S.-China
Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s”. The two
sides pledged to work together to strengthen the implementation of the "Paris
"climate clock" is counting down to an irreversible climate disaster.Friends of the Earth (HK) expects
the government to speed up in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050
and work with the world to prevent this climate catastrophe.
1.Promote energy transition:The government plans to rely on natural gas as a transition fuel, which not
only slows down the progress of renewable energy development, but also can leak
the powerful greenhouse gas, methane, during the extraction and transportation
process, and intensify global warming. Hong Kong has a subtropical climate and
is absolutely capable of developing large-scale offshore wind and solar farms. The
government must take a lead, requiring all government buildings and public
facilities, such as government buildings, universities, hospitals, public
houses, railway stations, airports, stadiums, parks, and more, to install
distributed renewable energy systems. In the long run, the government should
strengthen cooperation with the mainland and set up dedicated connection to
import renewable energy for Hong Kong.
2.Develop a hydrogen economy:Hydrogen not only can be used as a fuel for power generation, but also an important
energy carrier. It provides power for fuel cells and can be directly used in
automobiles, mechanical devices and building equipment. The government should
speed up the formulation of a hydrogen energy roadmap, invest resources in
scientific innovation, and at the same time promote cooperation with
neighboring countries to establish a "green hydrogen" supply chain
and actively develop the hydrogen economy.
3.Enhance the energy efficiency of
buildings: Buildings account for 90% of Hong Kong’s overall electricity
consumption. The government must regularly tighten the "Building Energy
Code" and conduct energy audits, retro-commissioning and life cycle assessments
for all buildings, including embedded carbon of building materials to reduce
the overall energy consumption of buildings. In terms of demand management, the
government must speed up the installation of smart meters and require all
buildings to install energy management systems. The government should also
consider a time-of-use tariff mechanism to reduce electricity consumption
during peak hours.
4.Establish low-carbon transportation:Transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Hong
Kong. The government should speed up in enacting the electrification roadmap of
public transportation and commercial vehicles and exploring the application of
hydrogen fuel vehicles in Hong Kong. The current government fleet has more than
6,700 vehicles. The government must take the lead in electrifying all
government vehicles. Furthermore, the government must quicken the
implementation of transport policies, including the implementation of
electronic road pricing, the establishment of more low-emission zones, the
inclusion of footpaths and cycling tracks in urban planning, and restrictions
on the licensing of private cars.
5.Strengthen resource and waste
management: Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste has no shortage of
reusable resources. The government must implement policies on aspects of waste collection, reuse and recycling, such as accelerating the implementation of
Municipal Solid Waste Charging Scheme, expanding the scope of Producer
Responsibility Schemes, and implementing landfill bans on recyclable and
biodegradable waste. In addition, the government, as the largest procurement
unit in the Hong Kong society, must strictly implement the green procurement
guidelines and promote a local circular economy.
6. Implement the carbon pricing mechanism:The principle of carbon pricing is to incorporate the cost of climate change
into economic considerations and promote low-carbon transformation of
enterprises. The World Bank pointed out that more than 65 regions around the
world have implemented carbon pricing and have achieved remarkable carbon
reductions. In addition to the carbon emission quota allocated by the
government to enterprises, China’s carbon market also adopted the "Chinese
Certified Emission Reduction (CCER)” certification, which uses carbon reduction
projects like renewable energy and ecological carbon sinks as an offset
mechanism to effectively improve market liquidity and corporate participation.
Hong Kong must implement carbon pricing in the future, requiring corporates to
bear the environmental costs of climate change.
7.Promote green finance: Hong
Kong has a sound financial system and is absolutely capable to lead the market
in financing carbon reduction and green projects. To promote Hong Kong as a
green finance hub, the government should adopt an internationally recognized
green and sustainable finance framework and allocate more resources to
cultivate green finance talents. In addition, Hong Kong should promote the
development of green insurance and provide insurance risk management services
and insurance fund support for environmental projects such as clean energy, new
energy vehicles, and green buildings, so as to reduce the operating risks of
green credit and broaden the financing channels for green industries.
The "Office of Climate Change and Carbon
Neutrality” established by the government must regularly disclose and review
Hong Kong's carbon reduction strategy and progress, and coordinate various
government departments to strictly implement the climate action plan. The
government promises to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Would the legislative
councilors of the next section fulfil their supervisory responsibilities?
Citizens, please vote wisely for environmental protection!