Call for Energy Future Road Map for Hong Kong

CIVIC EXCHANGE CALLS FOR ENERGY FUTURE ROAD MAP TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

HONG KONG, 21 January 2017 - Civic Exchange, an independent public policy think-tank, commends the Government Climate Action Plan 2030+ for its many initiatives, but regrets that the plan shies away from the most important questions: How quickly is Hong Kong phasing out coal? And what are we going to switch into, natural gas or nuclear?

Maura Wong, Civic Exchange’s CEO, said: This blueprint demonstrates a willingness to do more by the government in areas they can directly control. But overall it still lacks real vision and clarity because we still don’t know by 2030 whether we will be coal-free and what is the mix between natural gas and nuclear the only obvious alternatives since renewables are limited.

The following are Civic Exchange’s views and reactions to the Climate Action Plan.

  • Carbon Reduction Target
    The Government called its new carbon targets ambitious: 65-70% reduction in carbon intensity, and 26-36% reduction in carbon emission by 2030 (relative to 2005 levels). But we question how ambitious they really are, by the time the natural gas power plants already under construction become operational by 2020. We urge the Government to release projected 2020 carbon intensity and emission figures based on current trajectory in order to convince the public that the new targets are indeed ambitious.
  • Fuel Mix/Energy Policy
    There is no roadmap beyond 2020 for Hong Kong to switch from coal to cleaner energy, making this a step backward from the previous climate plan. The Government only said it expected the coal mix to be lower than the 20% it expects by 2020. But we do not know how much and how quickly it will be implemented. Civic Exchange believes that Hong Kong should set a target date for phasing out coal completely, just like many countries in the world. Since the renewable energy mix is expected to be very limited by 2030 (only 3-4%), this implies the mix from natural gas and/or nuclear should go up. Both fuels have pros and cons. Government needs to open up information and engage society in public discussion regarding safety, costs and availability of both fuels. Society needs to buy in to any increase in nuclear energy or natural gas, and know the implications.

About Civic Exchange

Civic Exchange (CEx) is an independent, non-partisan, public policy think tank established in 2000 in Hong Kong. With a vision to shape a livable and sustainable Hong Kong, Civic Exchange’s mission is to advance civic education and engage society to influence public policy through research, dialogue and development of practical and sustainable solutions. Civic Exchange undertakes research in three major areas: Air Quality, Nature Conservation and the Urban Environment, with an overarching framework of promoting Wellbeing.

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