#Building Efficiency, #Climate Urgency, #Energy, #Green Economy, #Green Finance, #Mobility, #Waste

Orange News: Rabbit symbolises for year 2023, bringing in luck and agility to mark the arrival of the Lunar New Year. In face of escalating climate change events, assertive policy actions, resembling as a strong-willed rabbit, are much needed to deliver noticeable and diversifying impacts to the shaping of a green, liveable and thriving Hong Kong.  Alongside the government’s commitments on tackling climate change, we are optimistic to witness practical transformations within the upcoming Year of Rabbit.

The recent occurrence of extreme weather events has been increasingly observed as happening across the globe, signifying the need to upscale climate change strategies and implementations in a regional reach. Among global superpowers, China, who vows to attentively confront issues of climate change. China has committed to accelerating the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

The commitment has pivoted a huge part of the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP). By earnestly dividing the work amongst various departments, each city could have their organizational leadership strengthened and financial support responsibly allocated. Hong Kong, as one of the Special Administrative Regions of China, can contribute and will greatly benefit by supporting the Central Government’s action.

For example, the FYP urged the development of buildings to be green and low carbon. The idea of green buildings no longer meant only for corporates, but also a transcending strategic national matter. Regional administrations subsequently come into realisation into creating their own policy incentives in alignment with the national green building standards. Kneading Hong Kong’s East-meets-West heritage into this blueprint, this city could surely dedicate tools, capital and expertise, in turn yielding sizable opportunities from China, in achieving the continuation of such symbiotic relationship for the next two to three years.

Hong Kong is undoubtedly the frontrunner of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Looking back, the government in previous year has tactfully incorporated legislations and made decisions essential to transfigure Hong Kong into a greener, liveable and thriving city. The announcement of tri-axle hydrogen double-decker trial on two routes provided reassurance to bus operators on using clean-energy bus fleet. Hong Kong’s plastic bag levy doubled to $1, ranging from food and drinks in sealed packaging to chilled and frozen items to be checked out. The plummeted usage of three-colour waste separation bins will be gradually phased out in the coming year, in replacement with community recycling network accepting at least 8 types of recyclables. Last but not least, the Hong Kong government undertakes regional collaborative efforts to review air quality, extracting data across the Greater Bay Area (GBA) into deep analysis.

Rabbit is known for its agility. The traits of swiftness and flexibility should be what a policy attains in order to lessen detriments of climate change. Not only did we employ such traits from the rabbit, but also recognise the symbolic white rabbit of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs from lunar new year represents the clean technologies that the authorities should adopt to improve the current situation and move the society away from pollutants. New year adjoins with new changes. Here are my following 5 recommendations for realising carbon neutrality in the upcoming year:


Ensure uninterrupted energy security 

Despite the Scheme of Control Agreement signed between the government and utility companies that aim to effectively enhancing Hong Kong’s energy resilience, residents would ineluctably experience price rises in 2023. With increasingly competitiveness of low-carbon energy sources within the GBA area, Hong Kong can stabilise energy cost throughout its decarbonisation journey through bolstering companies to source green electricity from regional companies. Studies in upgrading cross-boundary energy wheeling infrastructure, together with its investment needs.

Devote financial support on green buildings

The 2022 Policy Address established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in improving overall energy performance by more than 6% in 2024-25, commencing from conducting energy audits in around 250 government buildings. It is recommended a systematic measure on embodied carbon of new buildings with a substantial benefit on both the building’s carbon emission reduction and cost minimisation of doing so.  A portion of the $240 billion climate change mitigation and adaptation investments could be allocated in upgrading government buildings, henceforth, creating a knock-on effect within the private sector market in retrofitting their buildings.

Pursue clean transport

Hong Kong owns a low market share of commercial electric vehicles (EV) than other EV frontrunner cities as there were only 25 franchised electric buses in operation. To proactively propel Hong Kong’s determination to attain zero vehicular emissions by 2050, clarity on a time-specific zero emission roadmap for road transport. Scale of trials for clean energy buses should be continuously expedited, as well as the exploration of possibilities in removing regulatory barriers for technology development and adoption, by doing so,capable of identifying and formulating new business models for bus operators to maintain service level.

Strengthen the recycling industry

With stakeholder’s desire to continuing its operation in green recycling, the government are in good position to leverage such opportunity to transform Hong Kong into a zero-waste city. Funding for instance can be used on analysing the feasibility to re-industrialise Hong Kong’s recycling industries through incorporating insights from China’s pioneering recycling industries.

Support development on green and sustainable finance

Hong Kong attains the potential to become a regional premier green financing platform through paying close attention to the development of International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), as well as creating diverse financial instruments apart from green bonds, such as sustainability-linked debt instruments and transition bonds. Such could be backed by the adoption and of the common-ground taxonomy developed under the leadership of the EU and China. 

Rather than emphasising individuality in engaging problems alone, dialogues and coalition are more than crucial to effectively curtail inextricable climate change challenges, similar to the gregariousness of rabbits exerting cooperative behaviours. As the 5 recommendations represent imminent issues of the people aspiring to do good for the environment, authorities ought to grasp national potentialities and flexibly lead Hong Kong into a green and thriving city.


Originally published on Orange News on 26 Jan 2023. Written by Lawrence Iu.