Letters to the Editor, November 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 4:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 November, 2017, 4:52pm

Climate change is a global-scale phenomenon

I refer to the letter from Wyss Yim (“Summer heat faulty gauge of climate change”, October 28), and would like to clarify the misleading assertion made by your correspondent, that global warming is allegedly not ­supported by local observations in Hong Kong.

In fact, the warming trend is confirmed to be statistically ­significant at Waglan Island, a ­remote offshore ­island ­untouched by urbanisation, at a rate of around 0.14 degrees ­Celsius per decade, based on nearly 50 years of available data.

In comparison, the warming trends at the Observatory ­headquarters are around 0.12 degrees per decade based on more than 130 years of data, and even higher at 0.19 degrees per decade if computed over the same data period as Waglan Island.

Climate change is a global- scale phenomenon, and your correspondent is invited to look at the big picture, rather than cherry-picking around for bits and pieces of information that suit his purposes.

According to the World ­Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a reference ­clima­tological station needs to have at least 30 years of records for reliable analyses of long-term trends. Weather stations in Hong Kong set up over the rural areas such as Pak Tam Chung generally have less than 30 years of observation history, and some may even be subject to the influence of local climate ­created by terrain effects.

Piecemeal analysis of data from a single station to indicate the global climate trend is hardly conclusive.

For a consensus view and update on the subject matter, I refer your correspondent and readers to the annual greenhouse gas bulletin recently published by the WMO. It states that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has surged at a record-breaking speed to the highest level in 800,000 years, and 2016 was officially the ­warmest year on record, ­breaking the previous record set in 2015.

Also, against the wishful thinking of its own president, the US government has just ­released a scientific report. This report concludes that it is ­extremely likely that human ­activities, especially the ­emission of greenhouse gases, are the dominant causes behind the warming observed since the mid-20th century (Webpage ­titled “Highlights of the findings of the US Global Change ­Research Programme Climate Science Special Report”).

Tong Hang-wai, acting senior scientific officer, Hong Kong Observatory

Families can do their own housework

The Philippine government has suspended work applications for domestic helpers for 19 days (due to reports of “illegal recruitment”), delaying the arrival of workers bound for Hong Kong.

This could affect about 1,000 families in Hong Kong, and gives them an opportunity to themselves do the housework and the job of looking after children and elderly relatives.

Then they might realise they are capable of looking after their own home without having to hire a domestic helper.

Eugene Ho, Hang Hau

Craft of making milk tea must be kept alive

I agree with those who say Hong Kong-style milk tea is an integral part of the city’s culture (“Under the milky way”, November 10).

However, the process of making it appears to be a dying art, with few young people willing to learn how to prepare this tasty drink.

Once people stop learning a trade and the older practitioners retire, it disappears.

So I am glad the firm that owns Black & White milk is ­offering vocational ­training.

We need to keep alive ­our ­traditional trades and crafts.

Jenny Cheung Hoi-yan, Kwai Chung

Education is best to cut off scammers

There has been an increase in the number of phone scams in Hong Kong, with gangs trying different methods to cheat victims, especially students and elderly people who are originally from the mainland. The government must do more raise levels of awareness.

Through adverts on TV and online, it can try to reach the most vulnerable people, so they can recognise a potential scam when they get a phone call.

Chan Leong-cheong, Tsuen Wan

Anthem law could stifle creativity

I refer to Alice Wu’s column (“Hong Kong needs a national anthem law – not to instil patriotism, but to safeguard basic ­respect”, November 12).

There is no doubt that there are people who treat the ­national anthem as a joke.

Hong Kong soccer fans who boo when the anthem is played ­before matches mostly ­do this to show their disapproval of the central government.

However, that kind of behaviour does not justify a national anthem law in Hong Kong, as it will suppress creativity.

Artists who wish to parody or just provide a different version of the ­anthem, for whatever reasons, could face prosecution.

In other countries, artists have done this, for example, the band the Sex Pistols in the UK and Malaysian Chinese hip hop recording artist Namewee.

Citizens can be taught to respect the anthem through education, but not through legislation which could result in people being prosecuted.

Burnet Chong Wing-lam, Tseung Kwan O