Hong Kong’s leaders need to get tough on climate change in their next policy speech after recent extreme weather, say 17 green groups

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Hong Kong’s leaders must take tough action on climate change in their next policy speech following recent outbreaks of extreme weather, 17 locally-based environmental groups say in an open letter. Ta.

An unusual collective statement released by the city’s green groups on Monday points to weather events such as “once-in-500-year” heavy rains and severe storm warnings, and urges city officials to be more environmentally conscious when formulating policies. The aim is to encourage improvement. For the past 2 months.

Kitty Tam Tsi-ting from think tank Civic Exchange, one of the three organizations that supported the letter, said the government’s current action plan lacks short-term strategies and goals to combat climate change. He said that

“The Hong Kong authorities’ climate action plan only provides targets for 2035 and 2050 and is not detailed enough,” she said.

Environmental groups have called on chief executive John Lee to take a tough stance on climate change.Photo: Elson Lee

The action plan was announced in 2021 by then Environment Minister Wong Kam-sing, and aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2035, before the city achieves net-zero emissions by 2050. I’m asking you to do something.

Under the plan, authorities must minimize waste and develop net-zero power generation facilities, energy-efficient buildings and green transportation in the long term.

The other two organizations supporting the statement are Greenpeace Hong Kong and the local branch of the Nature Conservancy, while 14 other organizations co-signed the document. Signatories include WWF Hong Kong, Marine Parks Conservation Foundation and Greeners Action.

The open letter, addressed to Secretary of State John Lee Kaciu, who will give a policy speech on Oct. 25, calls for green and sustainable finance, climate change mitigation, strengthening cities’ resilience to natural disasters, and encouraging officials to focus on the environment. Areas such as awareness raising were taken up. .

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Policies proposed in last year’s speech include ending the registration of new fuel vehicles and hybrid private cars by 2035 at the latest, stepping up the construction of waste incineration facilities, and charging fees for municipal solid waste disposal. It was included.

Only the latter initiative is scheduled to start in the near future, with the municipal waste toll system scheduled to start in April.

But environmentalists say more aggressive policies are needed this time to protect future generations.

“We all must come together and act now because climate change is happening faster and more strongly than expected,” Tam said.

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Meteorologists warn that the world is likely to exceed the global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius sooner than we think

Meteorologists warn that the world is likely to exceed the global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius sooner than we think

He also urged governments to update their carbon emissions targets every five years and provide a clear roadmap for progress, giving businesses and investors more confidence in meeting their own decarbonization targets. asked to do so.

” [government’s] The action plan requires immediate action by businesses,” Tam said. “We need a pathway and then we need to ensure that the whole government and every sector is working towards it.”

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The signatories also criticized the current action plan for lacking a clear roadmap to achieve policy goals and argued that the proposals were not integrated into the decision-making processes of government departments.

The World Meteorological Organization said last month that 85% of sustainable development goals set by authorities around the world are “severely off track” and that climate change is undermining global efforts to tackle hunger, poverty and health problems. It was announced that there was.

Hong Kong is covered by the international climate change treaty, the Paris Agreement, after China signed the agreement in 2015. All co-signatories will be required to submit a breakdown of their carbon reduction efforts at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai next month.

Greenpeace activist Tom Ng appealed to authorities to encourage the city’s main power company to adopt renewable energy sources.Photo: Jerry Tse

Hong Kong environmental groups also called on local authorities on Monday to encourage the city’s two power companies to switch to renewable energy sources.

The government plans to conduct a mid-year review of the “control scheme” agreement between CLP Power and Hong Kong Electric Power, which came into force in 2018 and expires at the end of 2033, by the end of the year. The review will define the role of both companies and their roles going forward. Guaranteed financial benefits.

Greenpeace campaigner Tom Ng Hong Lam said authorities should link the companies’ profits to their carbon reduction performance and encourage them to improve energy efficiency.

“The government should be more proactive about contracts with the two power companies and use these contracts to encourage the adoption of more renewable energy sources,” he said. “This will help residents save more energy.”

Mr. Ng also urged city governments to develop a legal framework to reduce carbon emissions by clarifying government responsibilities, setting quantitative targets, and imposing regular reviews on government agencies. asked to build.

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The Department of Environment and Ecology said it welcomes input from all sectors on the topic of collective action to tackle climate change and promote decarbonisation.

“The interdepartmental steering committee on climate change and carbon neutrality, chaired by the chief executive, develops the overall strategy and oversees the coordination of various actions at the highest level,” the spokesperson said. said the person.

“In the process of developing the policy address, the Chief Executive listened to the views of the public and stakeholders through a variety of channels.”



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