Green Groups Demand Government to Regulate CO2 from Power Plants

Press release - 2007-11-27
Green group representatives from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Greeners Action, Green Sense, WWF Hong Kong and Clear the Air, along with “Carbon Dioxide Foundlings” protest to the Environment Bureau today over the government’s negligence to cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants when formulating the new Scheme of Control Agreement (SOC), further worsening global warming.

Green group representatives from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Greeners Action, Green Sense, WWF Hong Kong and Clear the Air, along with “Carbon Dioxide Foundlings” protest to the Environment Bureau today over the government’s negligence to cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants when formulating the new Scheme of Control Agreement (SOC), further worsening global warming.

The environmental groups issue a joint declaration which urges the government to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the biggest local source of greenhouse gas emissions, and to impose stricter measures to force them for energy saving.

The representatives show a banner stating "Regulate CO2 from Power Plants", and present "Carbon Dioxide Foundlings" resting in cartons to officials of the Environmental Bureau. The government is urged "to foster the abandoned carbon dioxide babies" by restraining greenhouse gas emissions from power plants when formulating the new SOC, as a move to combat climate change.

Spokesperson for the green alliance and Greenpeace's Climate and Energy Campaigner Frances Yeung said, "While countries around the world are actively fighting global warming, the SAR Government simply allows carbon dioxide emissions to damage the climate without regulating. The Government should not shirk the responsibility of regulation."

Power plants are the largest local source of greenhouse gas emissions, which account for about 70% of carbon dioxide emissions (the major warming gas) in Hong Kong. However, the Government only regulates emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulates, excluding carbon dioxide.

Energy saving is the most cost-effective means to control greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. However, the Government suggests that it may propose in the new SOC carrots to power plants for improving energy saving and demand side management, which however are not compulsory and only serves as foil.

As crisis of global warming is escalating, the green groups press for the government to seize the opportunity of SOC renewal and regulate the giant greenhouse gas emitters, which the agreement will determine the power plants' impacts to the environment in the next 10 to 15 years.

The alliance urges the government when formulating the new SOC, should:

  1. Cap power plants' carbon dioxide emissions and deduct profit of the plants if emissions surpass the limit
  2. Impose target for reducing energy consumption and saving energy which should include:
  • A concrete and aggressive energy saving target, at least doubling the one in the former agreement with power companies in electricity demand-supply management scheme ;
  • Precise economic incentives or profits calculations to encourage power companies to participate actively in energy saving;
  • A long-lasting energy saving plan. The government should avoid implementing improvident or short-term plans to fool the public;
  • A respective sanction mechanism if the power companies fail to meet the energy saving target.

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