Changing Climate

Changing Climate

9 November, 2015
The Environment Bureau
Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015
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The Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Wong Kam-sing, launched the Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015 last Friday, 06 November 2015. This important report outlines the work of the HKSAR Government and key private-sector stakeholders in responding to climate change and is divided into five parts: Threats and Opportunities, Mitigation, Adaptation, Climate Resilience and Collaboration.  It also includes an account of Hong Kong’s climate change action prior to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21).
 
Ecozine, together with other attendees from numerous industries attended the press conference. We were welcomed into the ‘non-air-conditioned’ but well ventilated Zero Carbon Building in Kowloon Bay, where the launch event was held. The pertinent choice of venue reminded guests how air-conditioning was also a contributing factor to climate change as the heat generated from running the machine gets released out into the open. Increasing climate temperatures will only lead to an increased dependency on air-conditioning, therefore creating a vicious cycle. Ms. Christine Loh, the Under Secretary for the Environment, kicked off the event by introducing each speaker.
 
Mr. Wong Kam-sing stated that the world has to work very hard over the next few decades to reduce carbon emissions by substantial amounts, despite continual population growth and rapid development in emerging economies. These efforts hope to keep global warming from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius. He also mentioned how the HKSAR Government had already taken steps to tackle Climate Change through collaborative efforts, various mitigation and adaptation measures. He closed his speech by stressing that collaboration between Government departments, business and communities is key to effectively tackling the issue of Climate Change. The young people are ready he said, and we need to hear their voices!
 
We heard from Mr. Shun Chi-ming, the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory who touched on some of the science associated with climate change. He explained that carbon dioxide intensity has risen dramatically in recent years and according to the laws of physics, CO2 is a green house gas that causes warming in our atmosphere; so increased CO2 equals increased warming. He also highlighted that Hong Kong has not only been experiencing increased average temperatures as a result of climate change, but we have record-breaking rainfall events and are more susceptible to extreme weather events.
 
Mr. Eric Ma, the Under Secretary for Development, said the Development Bureau had been participating and studying the issues in combating climate change.  The planning of Hong Kong and other development projects will follow the rules of sustainable development, in order to strike a balance between environmental, social and economical needs.
 
Mr. Yau Shing-mu, the Under Secretary for Transport and Housing, talked about the continuous improvement of the public transport service to try and increase public usage. There are over 5 million passenger trips on Hong Kong’s MTR daily. Imagine if these commuters travelled by car, Hong Kong’s temperature levels would be much higher. Mr. Yau stressed the importance of electric vehicles and explained that there are already 6 electric buses on trial on Hong Kong roads.
 
Buildings are a major contributor to carbon emissions, so implementing energy-saving and carbon reduction measures would need to be in place, particularly for public housing, which accommodates about half of Hong Kong’s population. If all 700,000 households replaced their light blubs with LED lighting it would make a huge difference. Mr. Conrad Wong, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Green Building Council, commented on how buildings use 90% of the energy produced and is responsible for 60% of CO2 emissions.
 
Mr. Eric Chong, Chairman of the Climate Change Business Forum Advisory Group of the Business Environmental Council, also delivered an inspiring message about the important role that large corporations play in helping to mitigate future climate change. He argued that we could not achieve sustainable businesses if we do not address Climate Change.
 
The event concluded with Karen Chiu, a student from HKUST. She mentioned, how happiness is everyone’s goal, but tragically we have created the biggest threat to our society by exploiting limited natural resources and destroying our home. She argued that individuals have a very important role to play in securing the future of our planet and that we need to have grateful hearts and lead simple lifestyles.
 
To read the full report on The Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015, visit the following link: www.enb.gov.hk

By: Abbe Ho
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