• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:53am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 August, 2013, 4:34am

All carrot, no stick for big business

The government doesn't just pander to taxi and minibus operators with a massive subsidy to replace old catalytic converters, a wise reader has pointed out. It mollycoddles the entire transport trade.

Besides the HK$150 million for taxis and minibuses I wrote about, there is the HK$400 million earmarked to retrofit the old bus fleets with new emissions control devices under KMB, Citybus, New World First Bus and Long Win.

As an Environmental Protection Department official put it with a perfectly straight face: "We propose to fully fund the franchised bus companies for the capital costs of retrofitting for some 1,400 Euro 2 and 3 buses, including the buses selected for the pre-qualification trial."

But all those hundreds of millions pale before the mind-boggling HK$10 billion the government has proposed to spend to phase out about 88,000 dirty diesel trucks by 2019 - that is, pre-Euro 4 diesel commercial vehicles.

The plan is still being worked out in discussions with trade leaders - who will no doubt demand their pound of flesh and get it - and then presented to the Legislative Council for funding.

So, the operators pollute our air, and we foot the bill for the clean-up. Another glorious example of our generous welfarism for big corporations and the rich. No wonder corporate types like Stanley Lau Chin-ho of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries denounces welfarism for the poor. Boys and girls, it's truly a nasty class war out there.

No doubt the trade has argued, and they are probably not bluffing, that either they would do nothing if they had to pay for converting or replacing the polluting vehicles, or they would raise fares and charges to such a high level that the public would end up blaming the government for enforcing tough emissions standards.

I love this corporate welfarism - heads I win, tails you lose. It's all carrot and no stick.

We all recognise the need to remove or at least lower sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other particulate emissions in our environment. But there must be new and greater penalties and enhanced monitoring to make all these massive subsidies worthwhile. Otherwise, we face an endless cycle of trade subsidy.

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pslhk
I agree with whymak but he may not agree with my explanation
It’s trite but true that HK’s development is fettered by colonial remnants
Many of the city’s pseudo-scientific fields are led by inferior “experts”
-
In early 80’s every westerner in China was addressed as “specialist”
China has long outgrown playing the game of flattering foreigners
But here many colonially-minded still mistake the game as something serious
-
China-hating foreign “experts” won’t have come to work here
among people whose indigenous culture they dislike
if they were any good and could find employment
for their “expertise’’ back home
-
Charlatans picked up scraps in the west to sell as advanced ideas here
They’re obstacles to HK’s development
For realistic solutions the city has much to learn / work with China
Here, there are simply too much copycats and foreign charlatans
Examples of half-spoken voices:
“in 1992, I did not realize that Victoria Harbor was a public toilet”
The public is now paying for this slow learner to pick up
”The pre-1997 government committed to a multi-billion dollar project to clean-up”
In her right mind, CL should have said the post 1997 government
Before its departure, the colonial government’s final mischiefs included
among others
putting up sewage facilities in Stonecutter where PLA Navy was to set up base
and scheming a multi-billion white elephant submarine pipedream
that has been wisely scrapped
megafun
anyone buying a "Dirty" carbon burning vehicle in the last decade ought to be fully aware of the damage that vehicle's CO2 is causing our climate; and at the same time also knows that no "tax / penalty" is paid for that damage to the rest of us. It is therefore ridiculous to now ask for "residual value" of an anti-social bit of junk.
If anything, morally all owners of dirty vehicles ought to pay a retro-tax for damages they've already caused during the polluting life of their vehicles.
megafun
as far as wiping out assets and its effects on pensions, I reckons that is minimal as compare to high "service" charges these funds charges all pensioners! If politics is to be involve with funds, lets get rid of MPF service charges, for starters.

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