HK Government Engages Public on Decarbonisation Strategy

The Council for Sustainable Development has launched the public interaction phase of the Long-term Decarbonisation Strategy. The public engagement aims to arouse public awareness on the impact of carbon emissions, and gauge the views of the community on developing feasible strategies for carbon emissions reduction, with a view to formulating recommendations to the Government by the end of this year.

The Chairman of the Council, Professor Arthur Li, said, “Climate change is an imminent global challenge. Mitigating climate change is not just for ourselves, but also for our children and future generations. Concerted efforts of the Government and civic society are required to promote and implement the decarbonisation strategy.”

Adopting a bottom-up and stakeholder oriented approach, the public engagement exercise is to provide a platform to gauge public views. The public interaction phase will run until September 20, 2019. The Public Engagement Document can be downloaded from the Council’s website. Members of the public are invited to send their views in the collection forms to the Council Secretariat via email (comments@susdev.org.hk). 

A series of public engagement activities are to be held in the public interaction phase, where regional forums, a youth forum, school activities and briefing sessions would be held. Three main topics are highlighted for public discussion, including the transition towards a low-carbon society, reducing energy use and further decarbonizing electricity generation and low-carbon transportation in a smart city.

The decarbonization strategy is part of the plan to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, which China is a part of, to mobilize support for stronger climate actions among citizens and the society as a whole.

The Hong Kong government has set a carbon intensity target of 65% to 70% by 2030 using 2005 as the base, which is equivalent to 26% to 26???% absolute reduction and a reduction of 3.3 – 3.8 tonnes per capita. Several initiatives are being introduced to the society, all with the ultimate objective of reduction of carbon footprint and pollution.

The climate change initiatives include greater use of natural gas and increase in usage of non-fossil fuel sources, i.e. cleaner fuel and renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency in order to reduce “carbon footprint” of the society, higher energy savings in buildings and public infrastructure, etc. Besides the government and the business sectors, individuals are also called upon to make a difference in their lifestyles, to amplify the effect of combating climate change. For instance, individuals can use the “Low Carbon Living Calculator” launched by the HKSAR government to learn how to reduce their carbon emissions.

However, it is of no shock that Hong Kong is one of the top cities in the world, with the largest carbon footprint, alongside Seoul, Guangzhou, NYC and Los Angeles. CarbonCare InnoLab, a NGO, stated that Hong Kong is falling behind its counterpart cities in multiple aspects such as use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and transition to electric mobility. It is hoped that through the multiple initiatives with the aid of public engagement, Hong Kong could achieve a greater and more ambitious cut in carbon emissions.

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