Policy address an opportunity for Lam to back her promise with action on...
| South China Morning Post (Pulication Date: 06 October 2021)
| Wendell Chan, Senior Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, Friends of the Earth (HK)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam will be delivering what could be her last policy address today. What can we expect? Last year, she pledged for Hong Kong to go carbon neutral before 2050. Will Carrie Lam back her promise with concrete actions this time round?
Despite being a small city and having one of the most service-oriented economies in the world, Hong Kong still has a per-capita carbon emission that surpasses other developed economies, including France, Chile, and Sweden.
The Hong Kong government must demonstrate climate leadership and the political willpower to realise climate policies, given that the city is one of the steering committee members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
Rather than turning to dead ends like 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.
Transportation must be electrified much earlier than the current proposed target of only setting a timetable around 2025—supported with walking and cycling policies to promote low-carbon, healthy modes of transport.
Carbon-emitting activities are still socialising negative externalities and not priced to reflect their true cost on the society.
As one of the top finance centres, the city should be developing its green finance talent pool and aligning with globally-recognised green and sustainability standards to establish itself as a global green financial centre of the future.
Hong Kong’s low-carbon shift requires a recognition that decarbonisation should be the overarching goal of the government. It needs bureaux working together—and not as silos—to integrate climate policies in a holistic manner.
Climate change is the biggest crisis we face today. The IPCC has sounded the "code red for humanity” and warned the world to cut carbon emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 if we intend to limit global warming to within 1.5°C.
Henan province—which was hit by the disastrous flood in July that claimed over 300 lives and continues to be battered by torrential rain—is a grim reminder that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe and that no one is immune to the effects of climate change.
With Mrs. Carrie Lam delivering the last policy address of her current term, will she commit more than just minimum targets and empty promises? Will she help Hong Kong transition to a climate-resilient economy and reaffirm its status as a global city?