Greenpeace calls for a ‘2034 Nuclear-free Hong Kong’ emissions reduction plan

Press release - 2015-12-04
3 November 2015, Hong Kong-The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) Climate Summit will be held on 30 November in Paris. The UN has pointed out that countries' current emissions reduction targets will not be enough to stop the world going over the 2 degrees warming threshold. As one of Asia's developed cities, Hong Kong also bears a responsibility to tackle climate change. Greenpeace is urging the Hong Kong government to formulate a new climate change strategy by adopting the ‘2034 Nuclear-free Hong Kong’ emissions reduction plan. We believe that if Hong Kong focuses on energy efficiency and developing renewable energy by 2034, when Daya Bay’s contract to supply energy to Hong Kong will expire, the city can quit nuclear power and still be able to reduce carbon emissions by about 30% compared with 2005 levels.

Greenpeace senior campaigner Frances Yeung said:  "As a developed city, Hong Kong should move faster on reducing emissions. Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident was further proof of the dangers of nuclear power and showed that nuclear is not a solution to climate change. The current trend is moving towards energy saving and renewable energy development. The government has to come up with plans to reduce emissions without nuclear power.”

In 2010, the Hong Kong government's public consultation on its Climate Change Strategy and Action Agenda pledged 2020 emissions would be 19-33% lower than 2005 levels. However the main strategy suggested to achieve this was an adjustment to the energy mix, which would only bring about the lower 19% reduction, a target which is not aggressive enough.

 

Daya Bay's contract to supply Hong Kong with electricity ends in 2034. By this time the plant will have been operating for 41 years, exceedingthe usual lifespan of 40 years for a nuclear power plant. On the assumptions that Hong Kong will not build any more coal power plants, the policy of using gas for local electricity generation remains unchanged, and existing coal power stations will be retired, Greenpeace believes that as long as total energy consumption is reduced by 20% by 2034, and renewable energy supplies 10% of our electricity needs, then Hong Kong will be able to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% over 2005 levels and still quit nuclear (Please see Attachment).

 

The government's energy-saving blueprint will reduce energy use in 2025 by 10% from today's levels; that's an average drop of 1% per year. As long as this downward trend continues until 2034 then our ‘nuclear-free Hong Kong’ emissions reduction plan will be half way there. But the energy-saving blueprint lists no specific measures to achieve this. To make that further 10% drop in total energy consumption, the government must develop countermeasures, such as

obliging owners of existing buildings to implement energy efficiency measures after conducting energy audits and setting up funds to help owners save energy.

 

Hong Kong also has the potential to develop renewable energy, such as decentralized solar power, but there is a lack of policy support. A study by City University last year, An analysis of potential applications of wide-scale solar energy in Hong Kong, estimated that installing solar panels on an area equivalent to 30% of Hong Kong’s developed region, would supply 30% of Hong Kong’s electricity demand  (Please see note 1). The Consumer Council pointed out that Hong Kong has the potential to develop renewable energy, but it lacks favorable conditions. The government should develop clear objectives and policies on renewable energy, such as feed-in tariffs to promote renewable energy development.

Frances Yeung stressed that the government must learn from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident. The ‘2034 Nuclear-free Hong Kong’ emissions reduction plan is the starting point for Hong Kong to tackle climate change. Hong Kong must develop more long-term and more aggressive emissions reduction targets. She said all nations at the Paris Summit must agree on a strong mechanism that will be regularly reviewed to improve reduction targets otherwise global temperatures cannot be kept under the 2 degrees warming threshold and we will suffer the worst impacts of climate change.

Media contacts

Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Frances Yeung
Tel: 2854 8303 / 9479 0416
Email: 

Greenpeace Communications Officer Ray Yeung
Tel: 2854 8376 / 9609 5714
Email:

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