Eight Greenpeace Trees Enter Government's House, Demand "Climate Policy Address"

Press release - 2007-10-02
Eight Greenpeace activists dress up in trees and attempt to enter the Government House and request to meet Chief Executive Donald Tsang for a master plan against global warming in his upcoming Policy Address. The move also taunts the CE’s earlier claim in APEC to plant 11 million trees to combat global warming, which lags far behind the Beijing government’s policy pace and shames Hong Kong’s international image.

However, the CE Office did not send anyone to receive the letter. Greenpeace activists tied the letter in front of a tree of the Government House and leave peacefully.

Mr. Donald Tsang, representing Hong Kong in the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, quoted Hong Kong planting 11 million trees as response to deal with global warming. The measure is too mean when compared to those by other countries worldwide.

Greenpeace estimates that if planting trees is the only way to tackle global warming, Hong Kong will have to plant 2 billion trees on an area equivalent to a double of its size. The number is only sufficient to absorb the amount of carbon dioxide emissions (the major global warming gas) in a year (refer to the table below).

Greenpeace's Climate and Energy Campaigner Frances Yeung said, "Mr. Tsang can only cite planting trees as example against climate change in an international conference. This provides clear evidence that his effort against global warming is too little."

Yeung further points out that planting trees is necessary, but it cannot be described as a comprehensive strategy. The Government must further establish broad strategies to cope with the challenge, which should include developing renewable energy, saving energy, as well as enhancing energy efficiency.

Mainland has already set a target to reduce 20% of its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2010. In addition, the China National Climate Change Program  was also launched in June which illustrates clearly China's efforts to combat global warming. However, this shows clearly that PRC government's concern to the issue is not echoed by Donald Tsang and the SAR Government.

Greenpeace believes that Hong Kong being the most prosperous city in China and a world class city, should take up the responsibility of addressing the warming crisis by formulating policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace urges Donald Tsang to announce a comprehensive plan against global warming in his upcoming Policy Address, which should include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets
  • An overall Hong Kong energy saving target
  • Amendment to the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, adding CO2 as a pollutant which should be regulated
  • Restrictions to power plants' CO2 emissions when formulating the new Scheme of Control Agreement
  • Improvement to renewable energy development target
  • Legislations on minimum energy performance standard for electrical appliances and restrict sales of electrical appliances which fails to meet the standard. Incandescent light bulbs should be phased out firstly in this scheme.
  • Compulsory regulations for energy use of buildings, and energy audit for buildings

Appendix:

  1. China National Climate Change Program: http://en.ndrc.gov.cn/newsrelease/P020070604561191006823.pdf
  2. Hong Kong's CO2 Emissions in One Year: 38 million tonesAbsorption of CO2 per tree per year: 0.019 tonesNumber of trees Needed to absorb CO2 emissions: 38 million ÷ 0.019 = 2 billion treesPossible Number of trees planted on 1 hectare: 10,000 trees Size of an area required to plant 2 billion trees: 2 billion ÷ 10,000 = 200,000 hectares (Total size of the Hong Kong territory: approximately 110,000 hectares)

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