HKIQEP’s Views on Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy

Views of the Hong Kong Institute of Qualified Environmental Professionals Limited
on the Hong Kong’s Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy

The Hong Kong Institute of Qualified Environmental Professionals Limited (HKIQEP) welcomes the public engagement on the Hong Kong’s Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy by the Council for Sustainable Development (CSD) on behalf of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Government) [1]. We would like to provide our comments and suggestions from a professional environmental perspective and urge the Government to finalise the strategy as soon as possible to help cope with the threats and consequences brought out by global climate change.

It is beyond doubt that climate change is an urgent global environmental threat that would pose serious risks to health, livelihoods, the supply of food, water and energy, security, and the sustainable economic growth of society. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that some adverse climate impacts may be long-lasting or irreversible if global warming does not gradually stabilize at 1.5°C [2].

Being a coastal city, Hong Kong is especially vulnerable to risks related to climate change. Some adverse impacts, including heatwaves, floods, storms and other extreme weather phenomena have already been occurring and are increasing in both frequency and intensity. The recent significant storm surges caused by Super Typhoon Hato in 2017 and Super Typhoon Mangkut in 2018 have caused serious flooding in many coastal and low-lying areas, huge amount of fallen trees, suspension of the public transport, and interruptions of the water and power supply, etc. These real impacts are clear signs reminding us of the need to join international efforts to combat climate change, which will affect both our and future generations.

We appreciate the efforts of the Government on climate change mitigation, including the establishment of a target to reduce Hong Kong’s per capita contribution to less than 4.5 tonnes in 2020; and to further reduce it to about 3.3-3.8 tonnes (about 25% to 35% absolute reduction from 2010 level) in 2030 [3]. However, as a high-income global city with a generally high level of education, financial resources, and civic consciousness, Hong Kong should have a responsibility to make a substantive and more meaningful contribution. Instead of a carbon intensity reduction target, Hong Kong should adopt an absolute carbon reduction target. The HKIQEP, therefore, urges the Government to tighten the interim target for 2030 to not less than 40% reduction from 2010 carbon emissions [4] and commit to an ultimate net-zero target by 2050.

The HKIQEP considers these targets, albeit aggressive and challenging, are achievable if there is a will to act. We urge the Government to work out a comprehensive Hong Kong Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy as soon as possible. We share the views of the CSD that Hong Kong needs:
⚫ low carbon lifestyle for all;
⚫ energy saving works (e.g. retrofitting and retro-commissioning) mandatory for all existing large buildings;
⚫ 100% zero carbon energy and very close energy regional cooperation;
⚫ mandatory energy saving measures;
⚫ mandating all new buildings to be net zero carbon emissions;
⚫ mandating zero emission vehicles to replace all conventional fuel-driven vehicles; and
⚫ rigorous technological breakthroughs and advancements to reduce and offset carbon emissions.

The climate change crisis can only be effectively dealt with if the Government, private sector and the general public work together hand-in-hand. The HKIQEP stands ready to offer our professional contributions towards combatting this global environmental threat together with all parties.

For full document by HKIQEP, please download HERE.

 

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[1] Council for Sustainable Development, Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy, Public Engagement, June 2019
[2] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global Warming of 1.5oC, 2018
[3] Environment Bureau, Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2030+, 2017
[4] IPCC’s assessment in its Global Warming of 1.5oC, 2018 shows that global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions need to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range) to achieve no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C increase of the global temperature.

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