Representatives from a local NGO are heading to UN Climate talks in Poland next week – to bring the message that Hong Kong's falling far short of its obligations to combat climate change agreed under the landmark Paris agreement three years ago.
CarbonCare InnoLab says Hong Kong is lagging behind comparable cities like Singapore, Tokyo, Shenzhen and Guangzhou on a number of different targets such as emissions levels, renewable energy usage, energy efficiency and carbon intensity.
Albert Lai, who advises the group, says even if Hong Kong meets its emissions target for 2030, it would still fall short of its required target by a staggering 78 percent. After 2030, Lai notes that the government hasn’t even formulated a climate plan yet.
He also says the fact that the city emits more carbon per unit of electricity produced than our mainland neighbours “indicates Hong Kong’s over-reliance on coal-fired power plants, even though we are already importing about one quarter of our electricity from nuclear power in China, so that means we have a lot to catch up.”
He said Hong Kong will have to do much better if it is to help attain the Paris agreement’s target to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. “If we are to abide by the target,” Lai said, “cities like Hong Kong have to come up to net zero for carbon emissions by 2050. And we don’t have a plan to achieve zero carbon by 2050 so that is a big void for Hong Kong.”
Lai said Hong Kong actually has a lot of potential to take the lead in striving towards a zero-carbon community. He said Hong Kong can, for example, help produce better and smarter technology to run offshore wind farms and make advances in green finance..