Hong Kong's indifference in UN alarm of global warming

Feature Story - 2007-04-06
Hong Kong should not be sidelined from international effort against global warming, as the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that global warming is going to make millions of people suffer from water shortage, famine, spread of diseases and flooding by the end of this century.

Greenpeace unveils a giant Ark in the centre of Brussels and urges Governments and the public to act to save the climate while there is still time.

The new report was agreed after almost a week of negotiations, at the end of a tense 24-hour marathon session which became increasingly political. The Working Group II Report in IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report clearly states that sea level rise is going to threaten coastal as well as the delta areas in Asia.

However, the Hong Kong SAR Government has yet sensed to draw effective policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Hong Kong is far backward from the international community in taking up the responsibility to resolve the problem of climate change.

According to a recent report by the Mainland government, a possible sea level rise of 16 cm by 2030 is going to put coastal areas, including the Pearl River Delta, at risks. The chances of attacks by flooding as well as storm surge will increase. Yet, Hong Kong belonging to the PRD areas remains apathetic to the danger and her avoidance to take any concrete action is undoubtedly outrageous.

National and local governments worldwide have been taking active measures to combat climate change, while Hong Kong is obviously lagging far behind this global trend (See Table Below). For instance,

  • The U.S. state government of California had approved the budget of a 2-billion energy efficiency project 2 years ago, which includes restricting energy saving standards for buildings and alliances, and setting energy efficiency targets for all public utilities. It was estimated by the Government of California that the total electricity expected to be saved amounted to US$5 billion, hence suspending the construction of 3 large power plants. Most important of all, it prevents the emission of 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
  • EU, which plans to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020.

On the contrary, Action Blue Sky advocated by the local government, whose aim is to educate the importance of maintaining air-conditioning level at 25.5°C, is just a laugh. The result in terms of reduction of carbon dioxide emission is obviously insignificant.

Policy

Hong Kong

LondonU.K. ==>

California, U.S.

Australia

EU

PRC

Reduction target of greenhouse gas emissions

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Renewable energy target

(1)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Emission control of carbon dioxide by power plants

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Phasing out non-energy saving light bulbs

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Climate change impact assessment

(2)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Note: 1. The Sustainable Development Council suggested a 1-2 % renewable energy development target by 2010. The target was criticized to be too modest and yet non-mandatory. 2. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was commissioned by the Hong Kong SAR Government to conduct assessment on impacts of climate change to Hong Kong in 2004. Yet no in-depth and updated research is carried out afterwards. Please refer to http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/studyrpts/climate_change_report.html for more details. Please refer to http://www.ipcc.ch/ for further details on IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report

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