Observatory chief says change vital to cope with increasingly higher temperatures The head of the Hong Kong Observatory yesterday appealed to people to adopt a simple lifestyle, as the city faces a 3.5 degree Celsius rise in the annual mean temperature by the end of the century. As a result of the change, Hong Kong will record an overnight temperature of 28 degrees or above 30 days a year. At present, there are only eight such nights annually. Observatory chief Lam Chiu-ying, who called such a forecast an underestimate, said it was vital for people to change their lifestyles. 'The climate has been always changing, but after the second world war global temperatures rose rapidly because we were burning much more fossil fuel and carbon,' Mr Lam told a seminar organised by the University of Hong Kong. 'This is a change with a difference - caused only by one single species on Earth and it is all about lifestyle, nothing else.' Mr Lam said it was wrong for people to just depend on the government to tackle climate change. 'The government can't do anything unless we do,' he said. Referring to the temperature prediction for the end of the century, Mr Lam said: 'I believe this is underestimated, and there is no way to predict temperature rise if human beings continue [using energy wastefully]. 'When I was young, the light bulb in my room was 20 watts and the one in the toilet was just 5 watts, but now light bulbs are 120 watts everywhere.' Based on current economic development, the Observatory predicted Hong Kong's average temperature would rise between 1.7 degrees and 5.6 degrees by 2099, in accordance with global warming tendencies. Statistics show that the city's temperature rose by 1.2 degrees on average from 1885 to last year. Mr Lam said urbanisation was the biggest cause of such a sharp rise with the concentration of population, high-rises and carbon emissions in downtown areas. He said the 'wall effect' caused by skyscrapers contributed to more hot nights in Hong Kong when 'concrete jungles' released heat absorbed during the day. 'The chances for warm winters such as this October and November are enhanced with the backdrop of global warming,' Mr Lam said, noting that in recent years these two months had been the hottest they had ever been. Ding Yihui from the China Meteorological Administration said southern China had high potential for developing renewable energy sources such as wind energy and solar energy. Mr Lam said the impact of climate change was not just centred on the ozone hole and global warming, but also extreme weather, ecological changes, crop losses, epidemics, economic instability and social unrest. Chief executive of Civic Exchange, Christine Loh Kung-wai, called on the city's higher education institutions to conduct research on climate change at a multi-disciplinary level, while the government and business sector should change their view that 'green' was an obstacle to economic development. She also called for emissions trading. 'We should reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency based on the premise of no impact on economic development,' she told the conference. 'Fortunately, we have our government starting to promote it.'