In support of Earth Day, Friends of the Earth (HK) and Financial Services Development Council jointly organized the annual forum “Earth Forum 2022” with the theme “The Prospect of Hong Kong Climate Exchange” on 22nd April. The forum was held in the form of focus group discussion with Mr. Joseph Chan, JP, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong SAR government as its officiating guest. Representatives from Hong Kong regulators, carbon trading experts, environmental scholars and Mainland policy makers were invited to discuss the prerequisites for the establishment of a Hong Kong Climate Exchange and the prospects for cross-border cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong, and to analyze the future opportunities of carbon finance development in Hong Kong.
Mrs. Mei Ng, BBS, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth (HK) mentioned in her welcoming remarks, “Climate Change is a threat multiplier. Action to speed up decarbonisation and low carbon transition is urgent. Hong Kong needs to join forces with stakeholders and our neighbours to promote Greater Bay Area as a regional leader to defuse the climate crisis. Regional carbon trading collaboration and the establishment of the Greater Bay Area Climate Exchange will help to make Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area climate ready and climate resilient.”
“Being the International Financial Centre of China and Asia, Hong Kong needs to mobilise more capital, at the right price, to the right projects to meet the needs of our country’s commitment to the world in carbon emission reduction.” Mr. Laurence Li Lu-jen, SC, Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC), said in his opening remarks, “This has also prompted us at the FSDC to consider how Hong Kong could leverage its world-class financial market to achieve its own carbon emission reduction target, and more importantly, facilitate the national carbon neutrality goal.”
As climate change becomes a global consensus, countries around the world actively incorporate financial innovation in the carbon reduction system. The expert panel believes that carbon finance will provide new development to Hong Kong’s economic growth as an international financial center. By injecting more green funding, carbon finance will become an opportunity for the future of Hong Kong. In view of this, the forum focused on the prerequisites for the establishment of “Hong Kong Climate Exchange”, how to expedite the development of a carbon emissions trading market, and how to expedite the establishment of a unified carbon market in the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau to promote regional cooperation. Through the exchange of expert and analysis of the positioning of the global carbon trading market and the advantages of Hong Kong, the proposed “Hong Kong Climate Exchange” can be developed around high-quality and high-value carbon credits.
Mr. Joseph Chan, JP, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong SAR government said, “Hong Kong was ranked third in the world and first in Asia in the Global Financial Centres Index. The status of Asia’s leading international financial centre has well-positioned Hong Kong to be the region’s green and sustainable finance hub, raising green and sustainable capital and offering green financial products.“
The expert panel also mentioned that at present, Hong Kong is actively developing into a regional carbon trading center, accelerating the establishment of a unified carbon market in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), and promoting the GBA as a regional leader in combating climate change. At the same time, as an important hub connecting the mainland and the world, Hong Kong can adopt a variety of transaction methods to actively promote the liquidity of the secondary market and develop carbon financial derivatives. By complementing the advantages of the GBA, Hong Kong can shape itself into the largest voluntary carbon trading market in Asia, or even globally.