Temperatures rising in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 12:20am

It was disappointing to see the story in Lai See ("Whatever happened to global warming for the past 16 years?" December 6).

The inconvenient truth is that it was based on an article by David Rose which first appeared in Britain's The Mail on Sunday more than two months ago. At the very least, your readers surely deserve some original content on the topic.

The Met Office (Britain's national weather service) responded to Mr Rose's article with facts clarifying some of the misleading information printed.

A climate reality is that, globally, the 20 warmest years on record occurred between the period 1987 and 2011, with 2012 set to be the warmest yet.

This disturbing trend is cause for alarm. But let's bring things closer to home.

According to the Hong Kong Observatory's climate change information, "The rate of increase in average temperature became faster in the latter half of the 20th century. In post-war years from 1947 to 2011, the average rise amounted to 0.15 degrees Celsius per decade, accelerating to 0.23 degrees per decade during 1982-2011."

Adding to that, data shows the rise of sea level in Victoria Harbour has been 2.8mm per year since 1954, with a 19 per cent spike between the early 1990s and 2011 from chart data.

Global climate disruption leads to extreme, unpleasant, and disturbing weather events including floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and extreme storms such as Hurricane Sandy and its devastation of New Jersey and New York.

When we burn dirty energy like oil, coal, and gas, we pollute our air and heat up our planet.

One only needs to gaze out of the window to see we have an air quality problem in Hong Kong.

The Observatory's data shows the number of hours recorded annually with visibility less than eight kilometres (excluding causes of high humidity, fog, mist or rain) has increased by around 600 per cent since 1988.

In an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development-issued report ranking global cities by assets most vulnerable to sea level rises by 2070, Hong Kong is number nine on the list. Guangzhou is ranked second.

While the debate over climate change continues, if global moves to develop cleaner energy sources achieve nothing more than to reduce air pollution, the associated health benefits and improved quality of life will bring economic and social benefits far outweighing the costs.

Chris Knop, Mid-Levels