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Letters to the Editor, November 27, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 November, 2013, 4:19am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 November, 2013, 4:58pm

Compromise a very slippery slope for HK

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Public nominations stance could hurt drive for democracy", November 25).

He attempts to be more of a pragmatic voice for democracy in Hong Kong, with the idea that there should be greater focus on the make-up of the selection committee for the next chief executive rather than debating the true merits of the democratic system and how it should be established in Hong Kong. However, Lo has missed the point.

What he does not realise is that if the central government is to get its way, and simply stick to an interpretation of what is written in the Basic Law, that is all that the people of Hong Kong will ever get. The reason the pan-democrats are demonising the idea of what is on the table is because the reality is, if China gets its way and puts in what many would describe as simply another puppet committee, there will be little difference from what exists today.

Not only that, but the fact is, once the decision is made on how to govern the people of Hong Kong, there will be no further development of the system. This is the true fear of those who believe in a "real" system of democracy. If Beijing gets its way, it will remain intact until 2047.

The reality is China and Hong Kong have the opportunity to show the world how progressive the SAR and central government can be.

Sticking to the rule of law, the values of an open market and the principles of true democracy would not only be a feather in the cap of our communist overlords but also show the rest of Asia that Hong Kong is here to stay and ready to play by the same rules as the rest of the democratic world.

Chris Haalboom, Sheung Wan


Clarifying station's ad revenue

I refer to the front-page report ("Winners and losers as ad spend up 65pc in 5 years", November 18).

The figures you quote for TVB Jade, "HK$12.3 billion in 2008 to HK$14.6 billion last year" could not be further from the truth. It seems that some people have been peddling similar figures in their attempt to portray a very large and growing pie of advertising spending in the free television market.

Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) is a listed company. Its financial information is published in annual reports, which are available on TVB and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing websites.

For the record, the total turnover for TVB in 2008 was HK$4.407 billion, of which HK$2.346 billion was from Hong Kong television broadcasting. The total turnover for 2012 was HK$5.448 billion, of which HK$3.167 billion was from Hong Kong television broadcasting.

It is incorrect to suggest the ad revenue for Jade channel was HK$12.3 billion in 2008 and HK$14.6 billion in 2012.

Winnie Ho, assistant controller, corporate and community relations department, TVB Limited


Time to admit there is no climate crisis

I refer to the report ("UN climate chief Christiana Figueres says coal industry must transform", November 19).

It made no sense for UN climate chief Christiana Figueres to tell delegates at a conference organised by the World Coal Association "that further capital expenditures on coal can go ahead only if they are compatible with the 2 degrees Celsius limit".

Humanity cannot control the climate of planet earth as if we had a giant thermostat. Climate has always changed naturally, and always will, no matter what we do.

Some scientists say we are heading for dangerous warming because of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal combustion and other industrial activities. Others, such as Russian solar experts, believe that we are in for far more dangerous cooling as the sun moves into a prolonged weak phase over the coming decades. If that is true, then our addition of CO2, if it has a significant effect, may very well help delay the next ice age.

The truth is, we simply do not know. Trying to unravel the causes and consequences of climate change is arguably the most complex science ever tackled. Professors Chris Essex (University of Western Ontario, Canada) and Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph, Canada) write in their book Taken by Storm, that climate "is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved."

Yet, on this weak basis, Figueres essentially wants the world to stop burning coal, our most abundant and least expensive power source. That electricity prices would probably soar and millions of jobs would be lost seems to have no influence on her. Saving the climate trumps everything else.

The only way to effectively counter this is to show that there is no climate crisis: it has not warmed as activists feared, there has been no overall increase in extreme weather, polar bears are doing fine, and the sea level rise is not accelerating.

If people like Milton Catelin, CEO of the World Coal Association, lack the courage to bring this up, then the world will soon follow us here in Ontario, where frightened coal supporters let the industry die rather than risk controversy.

Tom Harris, executive director, International Climate Science Coalition, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Raising green awareness the best option

Although it has been discussed for a number of years, the government has, until now, failed to push through a waste charging scheme in Hong Kong. In the meantime, the problem of waste volume has got worse.

A survey in September revealed that, if such a scheme was in place, most people would prefer to buy refuse bags from the authorities, which would limit the quantity of refuse they can dispose of.

Whatever option is adopted, it will definitely increase the expenditure of households. Some middle-class citizens have already been affected by inflation and there are many families living below the poverty line. This charge will add to their financial burden.

These families probably generate less waste than other households so it would be unfair if a building-based charge was imposed.

I also don't think the charge scheme will get to the root of the problem, although I admit it is preferable to expanding landfills or building an incinerator.

What has to be done is to raise the public's level of awareness so people appreciate the need to be environmentally friendly. If there is this shift in attitudes, then waste can be reduced at source.

My further concern relates to privacy.

It has been suggested that surveillance cameras might have to be used to check on residents who simply discard the rubbish rather than paying the charge. There will have to be a great deal more discussion of the various proposals for the waste charging scheme.

Cheung Tsz-wun, Sha Tin


Shows likely to reinforce stereotypes

I applaud the positive intent in M. L. Fong's letter ("Acting to solve scourge of ethnic bias", November 23) in wanting to showcase Chinese interacting with people from ethnic minorities in local entertainment productions.

The purpose is to enhance perceptions and perspectives. However, sadly, a problem with local drama series and films is that, whenever a non-Chinese character is involved, the depiction normally reinforces stereotypes, and is often negative.

I cannot imagine a local production showing a Filipina as a doctor or senior ward nurse, or a Nepali as an architect or engineer. Ethnic minorities are never portrayed in positions of authority or responsibility, and discrimination is rife in Hong Kong.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai


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This article is now closed to comments

Even if the points made by BoSee and WISERS_FOE@earth_1 were not misguided (and they certainly are), their statements have no relevance to the climate change policy debate whatsoever. All that matters is whether or not carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are currently causing, or, in the foreseeable future, are likely to cause dangerous global warming and other climate problems.
It certainly has not happened yet since any appreciable global warming stopped 17 years ago and warming during the 20th century was very modest (about 0.7 deg C).
So, the question is, will continued rise in CO2 cause dangerous climate change in the future? No one knows because we do not yet understand the science well enough to know how to program the computer models that are the basis of the climate scare. All we can do at present is guess the future and see what guesses work as the future unfolds.
Misguided, ha! I can't believe this. I would expect you to do a better job in injecting disinformation if you were getting paid for it at least.
Global warming never stopped, maybe if you were taught not to cherry-pick your data, you'd see it too.
I don't see you providing any sourced information or even quotes to have you claim your opponents to use "logical fallacies". Your background can be easily found with a simple Google search.
The problem with trying to argue with you is that you won't be convinced no matter what or you'd keep on shifting your goal posts. What we try to do is point out why you'd say such things.
What I can never understand is why you would want to deny a better and cleaner environment for us and for our future.
As a final note: You'd have an easier time feeding disinformation in the US, UK and Australia. Unlike those places, Hong Kong doesn't have Fox News and the like that tries to keep their populace misinformed.
Thank you for playing the game.
In the meantime, we know with absolute certainty that climate change, whatever the cause, affects people, the poor being the most vulnerable. Yet almost all of the world’s funding for climate change goes to the possibility of “stopping (mitigating) global warming” that might happen decades from now. That this is immoral when people who are suffering and dying right now due to climate change are receiving little or no support was the main point of our article. Rather than “propaganda”, sensible people see the current climate funding distribution between mitigation and adaptation a tragedy. Many African representatives I spoke with at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference agreed that the current mitigation focus of international efforts is entirely backwards.
However, that said, I am glad to see it when our opponents have nothing of value to bring up, just logical fallacies such as guilt by association, motive intent and ad hominem. A good start to correct these problems would be for people like to actually read my letter and tell us where they disagree with the argument being presented. At the same time, he would then see we are anything but a climate change denier, whatever that means.
@ Christian, I do agree racism is rife in HK , they have a nose up in the air attitude.Ever wondered what the world thinks about them and how they are simply ignored and bypassed? They get the dose of their own medicine when they travel abroad so no great qualms about them.Education is not their cuppa tea.
Racism is rife in HK, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen everywhere else in the world. Your comment can be used for Americans, Europeans and the like. I am not defending racism, but that the problem isn't restricted to HK.
As BoSee has already mentioned, Tom Harris's background and source of funding shows blatant conflict of interest. To have a person with a mechanical engineering background speak about climate science is akin to asking a physicist to perform a rectal exam on you.
Tom Harris and the ICSC are funded by the Heartland Institute - a Chicago-based front group for the oil and tobacco industries. Take everything he writes with a bucketload of salt, he is a PR man with a background in Mechanical Engineering who is paid to debunk climate science.


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