Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015 [fr]
The Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong together with the Transport and Housing Bureau, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the Food and Health Bureau, and the Security Bureau, have published on 6th November the “Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015”. This report evaluates efforts jointly made by all different players of Hong Kong (politics, civil society, universities and private sector) regarding the “fight” against global warming. This document also points out the positions that the Hong Kong government wishes to defend during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) taking place in Paris from 30th November to 11th December 2015. It then constitutes a communication tool regarding the contribution of Hong Kong in the global action against climate change.
The report’s official announcement happened along with a brief presentation of its context and content to the public and took place on 6th November in an emblematic place: the “Zero Carbon Building” of Hong Kong. Mrs Christine LOH, environmental undersecretary, successively gave the floor to the involved public agencies representatives.
As a first step, after recalling the issues related to keeping global warming below 2°C by the end of the century, Mr Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment, explained that the measures implemented to reduce CO2 emissions for several decades are encouraging but insufficient. The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, actively involved in negotiations ahead of COP21 is expecting, as it was for Kyoto Protocol, a binding treaty at COP21. Mr Wong will attend as a member of the Chinese delegation this event in Paris starting later this month. Mr Wong also recalled that Hong Kong’s CO2 emissions have decreased by 19 % between 2005 and 2012. Local government’s goal remains to reach a 50 % reduction of 2005 emissions by 2020.
Besides, Mr Wong insisted on the significant role of cities and developed countries in global greenhouse gas emissions. Hong Kong shouldn’t consider climate change as an obstacle to its development but as a sustainable economic opportunity. Since Hong Kong has a very high population density, a transition toward a low-carbon economy could improve economy, support green employment creation and reinforce social ties at the same time. The Secretary also emphasized that substantial work is to be done and that the government has to join forces with private companies in the 3 following fields: adaptation, mitigation and resilience.
In order to raise awareness of the major consequences that global warming could imply for Hong Kong, the floor was given to Mr Shun Chi-ming, director of the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO). Through numbers and graphs, he presented the impact of climate change on the frequency of extreme climatic events (such as typhoons and droughts) and on sea level.
Then, Mr Eric Ma, Undersecretary for Development, explained that his Department takes more and more care to ensure that new infrastructure projects, construction or renovation, respect at best the sustainable development principles with appropriate balance between economic, social and environmental developments. He also insisted on the need for greater cohesion between government’s departments.
Mr Conrad Wong, Hong Kong Green Building Council’s director, and Mr Eric Chong, Climate Change Business Forum Advisory Group of the Business Environment Council, both emphasized the economic opportunities for Hong Kong allowed by global warming.
Mr Yau Shing-mu, Under secretary for Transport and Housing, then recalled some of the measures implemented by his Department to lower the city’s carbon footprint, such as the enhancement of public transport – aiming at significantly reducing the use of private vehicles – and the improvement of buildings energy efficiency. These two points are essential since, on one hand 12.5 million passengers daily use public transport, and, on another hand, buildings consume around 90% of the city’s electricity. In Hong Kong, where about half of the population live in social rental apartments with insufficient thermal insulation, the room for improvement regarding buildings energy efficiency is huge. Regarding public transport, the six first electric double-deck buses were put into service in 2015. This demonstrates the government’s will to keep enhancing the city’s road transport. These measures should bring an improvement in air quality, carbon footprint and traffic jam.
« Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015 » presentation on 6th November 2015 in Hong Kong’s Zero Carbon Building. Credits: MONIER Justin
Finally, the event ended with Karen’s speech, student at one of the Hong Kong universities, who put forward the vision of the “new generation” on climate change and its concerns about future.
To conclude, Mrs Christine LOH invited all the involved departments to meet again at the end of the COP21 in order to take on board the key progress in local politics for the global fight against climate change. She specified that the involvement of all the players including the people is a sine qua non condition for a successful transition toward a low-carbon economy. The “Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015” is available via the following link. This document completes the two other reports: “Energy Saving Plan for Hong Kong’s Environment 2015-2025+” and “Food Water and Yard Waste, a plan for Hong Kong 2014-2022”.
Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015 here
Justin MONIER : Scientific Officer
Isabelle SAVES : Attaché for Scientific and Academic Affairs