HK 'lagging' in reducing carbon

Local | Lauren Lau 9 Aug 2019

Hong Kong has to be more proactive in lowering carbon emissions and should follow the transport reforms being put in place in London and Brazil, a non-government organization promoting sustainable development said.

London will enforce legislation that all taxis will need to be electric by 2021, but Hong Kong is lagging behind in this aspect, Peter Bakker, chief executive of the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development said yesterday.

The SAR will have to catch up soon, as its plan to decarbonize by 2050 will not meet the global consensus of having zero carbon emissions by 2040, he said. Bakker is in Hong Kong to inform local chief executives of how collaboration between the government and businesses can help achieve this goal.

He noted that introducing electric public transportation would be the best route to take.

"Hong Kong has a good foundation in terms of its traffic network, and it will be easy to arrange electric cars the size of taxis. There is the technology for it, and it can be made affordable," Bakker said.

Taxis aside, he gave an example of how his council worked with a major local employer and the prefecture of Feira to develop a sustainable urban mobility plan in Brazil.

The city of Feira de Santana committed US$26 million (HK$202.8 million) to deliver safer and cleaner mobility.

From this year to 2024, the city will implement short, medium and long term solutions, such as a "bus rapid transit system," which is faster than the regular bus service, and will encourage people to take public transport. Other measures include a bike-sharing system, bicycle parking, a rise in the number of sidewalks, and planting trees.

"The amount of cars people are buying have been rising at 5 percent per year, the number is skyrocketing. Even though there were taxation adjustments for electric cars before, however, it was not consistent enough, confusing many," said Simon Ng Ka-wing, the council's director for policy and research.

He thinks the promotion of electric cars can only be done through consistent policies and constructing adequate charging stations.

Other than transportation, Bakker also promoted the notion of a "circular economic model."

Currently, the world economy is a linear mode where products are sold and then wasted, while the circular mode can ensure that products sold can be recycled by the producers.

For instance, IKEA plans to promote a furniture program leasing out furniture for customers, and have the items returned after the period is over to refurbish and reuse them.

Meanwhile, this year's Climate Action Summit will take place at UN headquarters in New York on September 23.

 

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