Climate change

Council puts radical green proposals on backburner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 November, 2011, 12:00am

Advisers on sustainable development are unlikely to present the outgoing government with radical ideas on cutting energy consumption.

This was signalled yesterday, just a week before the end of a public consultation on the issue.

Council for Sustainable Development chairman Bernard Chan said he would prefer to make suggestions that looked feasible to the government rather than measures like requiring buildings to audit their carbon emissions.

'I hope our suggestions will be implementable,' Chan said. 'It will be meaningless if the government just puts them aside.'

The consultation that started in August covers ideas on policy and behavioural changes, of which carbon audits and the electricity tariff review are seen as the most controversial.

Chan said tightening the existing building energy codes, extending the mandatory energy efficiency labelling scheme to cover more appliances and the phasing out of energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs were considered more feasible.

Chan said he knew from his firm's experience that forcing all buildings - in particular old ones - to conduct carbon audits would be difficult until technical issues had been resolved.

Chan said his firm, Asia Insurance, cut its electricity bill by 30 per cent in the past 10 months from the same period last year after a carbon audit and installing more energy-efficient electrical appliances. But it still faced constraints imposed by a centralised air-conditioning system and the lack of meters recording the electricity use from its premises.

'Under the centralised air-conditioning system, companies still have to pay a high tariff if others in the same building do not use air-conditioning wisely,' Chan said, 'It is also difficult for the management company to charge firms according to the electricity consumption without the installation of individual meters.'

He said the management company, the MTR Corp, had been asked about installing meters, but an agreement from all tenants was daunting.

Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo Wai-muk said big enterprises and the government should take the lead in carbon emission audits. 'We hope the council will reflect what the public wants even if they will be difficult tasks for the government.'