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The Hong Kong NGO & Social Business Delegation to COP21-- Press Release:Hong Kong Hiding its True Colours

Hong Kong Hiding its True Colours

As UN’s Paris summit on climate change is entering its final stage of negotiations, delegates from different countries began to flash out bottom lines of their carbon emissions reduction commitments. Mayors of many major world cities have also shown up at the conference and pledged to set up an even more ambitious reduction target than their national one.

Mr KS Wong, Secretary for the Environment, attended a seminar in the China Pavilion this Monday. In contrary to other city representatives, Mr Wong only reviewed what Hong Kong has done on climate change issues in the past but gave no pledge to carbon reductions on or after 2030. Claiming that “Hong Kong is a special case”, he refused to consider new measures to make Hong Kong a low carbon city. Mr Wong was criticized by civil society delegates at the seminar for being too conservative and complacent.

Mr Chong Chan Yau, member of the Hong Kong NGO & Social Business Delegation to COP21, maintained that Hong Kong has the responsibility to make greater contributions to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. He queried why Hong Kong, despite witnessing earnest efforts by many international city mayors to make their city zero emission by 2050, has no similar target for Hong Kong at all.  Citing innovative low carbon solutions proposed by the civil society, such as wider use of solar energy, zero-carbon pedestrian zones, urban farming and encouragement of private investment in low carbon businesses, Mr Chong asked why none of such solutions was put on the Environment Bureau’s policy agenda. Mr Wong only emphasized again that Hong Kong was “different” from other cities and said that the Hong Kong Government would study such proposals after the Paris summit.

“I wish to quote the famous writer Naomi Klein, who pointed out at her talk last night that ‘Now is not the time for small steps’. Hong Kong itself is an international city, not a tiny unknown city behind China’s back. We cannot afford such procrastinations.  Hong Kong’s GDP per head ranks 10th in the world ladder and it has the means to achieve innovative carbon reductions. This is not just the responsibility of a global citizen, but also an opportunity for Hong Kong to develop green businesses for its commercial sector. The attitude of the SAR Government so far has been very disappointing. I can only hope that Mr KS Wong does not miss the lessons learned from Paris, ” said Mr Albert Lai, leader of the Hong Kong civil society delegation. 

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  1. [Download here] At a seminar held in the China Pavilion, COP21, KS Wong, Secretary for the Environment, only emphasized Hong Kong is a special case and gave no pledge to the city’s carbon emissions reduction on or after 2030.
  2. [Download here] Chong Chan Yau, on behalf of the Hong Kong NGO & Social Business Delegation to COP21, asked why didn’t Hong Kong follow suit of other international cities and set up a zero-carbon target by 2050.
  3. [Download here] Chong Chan Yau raised various low-carbon city solution ideas to KS Wong, including urban farming, zero-carbon pedestrian zones and wider use of solar energy.