Climate change

HK study to focus on global warming

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 May, 2007, 12:00am

Research aims to help improve air quality

The government will carry out an additional study on climate change with a local perspective this year that could propose measures for combatting global warming.

The news came as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report, 'Mitigation of Climate Change', in Bangkok yesterday.

The report covers areas ranging from energy, transport and industry to waste and says more could be done by governments and the private sector to cut greenhouse gases.

A government source said the Environmental Protection Department was preparing a brief and defining the scope of the climate change study, taking into account the latest IPCC findings.

'The study will take reference from the latest reports issued by the IPCC and cover both impact assessment and measures for mitigation and adaptation,' the source said.

It is not known how long the study will take or to what extent it will assist policy formulation on climate change.

Two separate studies related to climate change have already been completed by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) over the past seven years. The first one, the Greenhouse Gases Emission Control Study, was completed in 2000. It assessed various control scenarios. The second, entitled Characterising Climate Change, was issued in 2004. That study gauged the effects of rising temperatures, typhoon frequency and outbreaks of disease.

The source said Hong Kong, a compact city with high public transport usage, already had the edge over other cities in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use.

The existing and pending measures to improve air quality would also help cut emissions of the gases causing global warming, he said.

Hahn Chu Hon-keung, environmental affairs manager of the Friends of the Earth, hoped the study could break departmental barriers and take a holistic perspective.

'Climate change is not just an agenda for the EPD, it requires collaboration from various departments like the Observatory and Drainage Services Department. The EPD alone will not deliver what is needed,' he said, citing Guangdong, which mobilised 13 provincial bureaus to study the impact of rising sea levels.

Mr Chu said there was much room for Hong Kong to improve energy efficiency and conservation in a bid to cut carbon dioxide emission.

Hong Kong's greenhouse gas emissions per capita amounted to 6.5 tonnes in 2005, up from 6 tonnes in 1997. This compares with 10 tonnes in Japan in 2004, and 23 tonnes in the United States in 2003.

The city emitted more than 44 million tonnes of greenhouse gases and accounted for 0.2 per cent of the world total.

Although China is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, it has so far set no mandatory target for reduction. The protocol was extended to the city in 2003.

In response to the IPCC report, Greenpeace China urged the government to set targets to reduce carbon dioxide for the city and local power plants.

Black cloud

In 2005, Hong Kong's greenhouse gases accounted for 0.2 per cent of the world total

Amount, in tonnes, of emissions generated by the city that year 44m