Greenpeace Brings 7,000 Signatures to Environment Bureau, Demand CO2 Caps on Power Plants

Press release - 2008-05-06
Two Greenpeace activists dressed up in eyeball costume today bring 7,000 signatures collected earlier to the Environment Bureau and covered the EB door with “surveillance eyes”. The act is to present public voices to urge the Bureau to cap carbon dioxide from power plants in the recent Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO) amendment and as a move against climate change.

Two Greenpeace activists dressed up in eyeball costume bring 7,000 signatures to the Environment Bureau and covered the EB door with “surveillance eyes”. The act is to present public voices to urge the Bureau to cap carbon dioxide from power plants in the recent Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO) amendment and as a move against climate change.

Benny Wong, Assistant Director of the Environmental Protection Department, said he had no comment to the public voices while receiving the signatures.

Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner Frances Yeung says, "Now is the golden moment to cap CO2 from power plants, which are the largest local greenhouse gas emitter. By listing CO2 as an air pollutant in the Ordinance, the government will be empowered to limit emissions from the power plants and curb climate change. Most importantly, the government now has public support backing up. What is she waiting for?"

The Legislative Council debated on the 2008 Air Pollution Control Ordinance this morning which aims at controlling air pollutants from power plants from 2010 onwards. Yet CO2 leading to climate change is not monitored at all. Most legislators attending the meeting agreed with the necessity to list CO2 in the Ordinance. Democratic Party's Lee Wing Tat even proposed to stop discussing the Ordinance until the government nods to public opinion.

Government officials argue that there is no urgent need to cap CO2 from power plants and all moves have to wait until a consultant report which is due to release in 2009. It also claims that CO2 is not an air pollutant.

However, APCO includes gaseous substance as one "air pollutant" and "air pollution" means "air pollutant which is prejudicial to health". (1)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already agreed that CO2 emissions from human activities is the major cause to climate change, and leads to a series of natural disasters as well as plagues and famine. The World Health Organization and the Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection, also point out that climate change alters the paths of virus spread and affects human health and well-being.

CO2 as a result is an air pollutant which fits the APCO amendment criteria.

France Yeung adds, "Curbing climate change can't wait until the government report is released, which is 2 years later. It is happening. The public is watching the government who must act now to stop power plants from damaging our climate."

Greenpeace together with 5 other local green groups are collecting online signatures which are delivered straightly to the email boxes of the Chief Executive Donald Tsang and EB Secretary Edward Yau, urging the authority to cap CO2 from power plants.(2)

(1)

Refer to Section 2, Air Pollution Control Ordinance. APCO defines "air pollutants" as "any solid, particulate, liquid, vapour, objectionable odour or gaseous substance emitted into the atmosphere", and "air pollution" means "an emission of air pollutant which either alone or with another emission of air pollutant", (a) is prejudicial to health; (b) is a nuisance

(2)

Greenpeace together with Friends of tEarth, Greensense, WWF HK, Greeners' Actions, Clear the Air kicked off an online petiton in April, which urge the government to control CO2 from power plants. Until May 6th, 5,000 signatures have been collected. WWF HK also collected 1,800 signatures during a street event earlier.

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