Letters to the Editor, June 10, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 June, 2015, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 June, 2015, 4:51pm

Two power firms burn a lot of coal

I refer to the dramatic headline for the report ("CLP, HK Electric could be innocent victims of Norwegian fund sell-off", June 7) on a decision by the Norwegian parliament to require its national wealth fund to divest itself of holdings in coal-energy businesses.

I do not see anything in the article which indicated that CLP or HK Electric are in any way "innocent victims" - they burn lots of coal and apparently want to burn even more in the future. In this they are abetted by our government through a scheme of control which seems to encourage security of capacity above efficiency, let alone a reduction in pollution. Currently, if there is an "innocent victim", it appears to be the Hong Kong population.

The Norwegian parliament based its decision on a principled stand against further global warming, however you do not need to be a global warming warrior to applaud their move.

There is a more immediate argument for funds to divest from our old-fashioned power utilities - to encourage the reduction of local pollution.

Such a move might encourage our power suppliers to pro-actively propose changes, such as: remove the discounts for the biggest consumers; provide a feed-in tariff to encourage private solar panels; introduce peak-load shedding via the internet, and encourage energy saving air-conditioning and lighting upgrades.

Who knows, one day CLP and HK Electric could even be looked upon in a more favourable light.

Edwin McAuley, Tai Po

Renewable energy is the future

Hong Kong's two power firms have been looking into the development of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on coal, oil and natural gas.

I support initiatives to use more renewable energy as this can help slow down global warming. If taxpayers have to pay more for electricity that comes from the use of solar panels and wind turbines, it will make them more aware of the need to conserve energy.

They will be more willing to think about this issue and, for example, switch off lights when they don't need them and use fans instead of air conditioners.

We must continue to develop renewable energy projects in Hong Kong.

Cheung Ka-ching, Sheung Shui

Green options offer no solutions

The sad results of Europe's infatuation with wind and solar energy toys are clear.

Without Russian gas, French nuclear, Scandinavian hydro, North Sea oil, Iceland's geothermal and German and Polish coal, the European green zone would freeze in the dark every winter.

Green energy is not the solution - it is the problem.

Denmark is a wind energy poster child. When the wind blows, electricity prices go into free fall and surplus Danish power is exported to Scandinavia - at discounted prices.

Then, when the wind drops, the canny Swedes send hydro power back to the Danes at peak prices.

At the height of the solar energy bubble, the sunny Mediterranean countries spent their credit-worthiness in subsidising solar and wind energy. From Spain to Greece, they are now facing bankruptcy, and their industries are migrating.

German politicians dream of closing their efficient nuclear and coal generators, while also becoming independent of Russian gas and banning shale gas exploration. No wonder their real industries are migrating.

Australia is following Europe, just more slowly. Already, much of our industrial base has migrated to Asia or plans to: metal smelting and refining, steel making, oil refining, car and tool manufacturing, weapons and equipment making, food processing and so on.

And, as green doomsters in developed nations also advocate dumping shares in hydro-carbon producing companies, smarter people are picking up these shares at bargain prices.

Future generations will look back in wonder at this futile expulsion of our capital, industry and jobs.

It will not reduce CO2 emissions - just move them elsewhere with not the slightest effect on the earth's climate or biosphere.

Viv Forbes, Rosewood, Queensland, Australia

Police trying to maintain law and order

Legco is due to vote next week on the government's proposals to select the chief executive in the 2017 election.

Crowds will gather outside the chamber and again we can expect to see confrontations between them and the police on duty.

We could again see destruction of property, with some people trying to storm the Legco complex.

The police officers on duty are responsible for upholding the rule of law and they will have to try and stop any acts of public disorder.

Once again, we may well see scuffles between the two sides and accusations being made against the police.

Some media reports encourage this attitude and try to demonise the police.

We have to remember that, when there are disturbances in society, these officers have a duty to try and restore order.

You see press reports condemning the use of tear gas, but no condemnation in those articles about mobs provoking officers in the first place.

In fact, there is nothing wrong with police carrying out their legally empowered duty to restore the rule of law.

Why not recognise when the police genuinely try and show restraint in the face of extreme provocation. I suppose taking that approach does not sell newspapers.

It is worth remembering that the Hong Kong Police Force is there to protect citizens round the clock.

We should treasure the stability we enjoy in our society and respect the police for the job they are doing.

Andy Au, Kwai Chung

Concerted effort to curb smuggling

Drug trafficking is now a serious problem globally.

It is such a lucrative trade that many criminals get involved and attempt to move illegal drugs across borders.

They try and come up with increasingly inventive ways to conceal narcotics.

The Hong Kong government has done a good job at countering the traffickers.

They do this through strengthening external liaisons and exchange of intelligence with the mainland and overseas enforcement agencies, in order to curb the flow of drugs into and out of Hong Kong.

Their actions are an effective deterrent against the traffickers.

Pun Ming-lee, Sheung Shui

High-pressure society leads to low ranking

In this year's global happiness index, Hong Kong has dropped in the rankings.

Hong Kong people should try and think positively. However, I accept this can sometimes be difficult, given the heavy workloads and pressure many citizens have to deal with.

I think the wide income inequality is another factor. People on low incomes really struggle to make ends meet and life is hard for them.

Despite the problems that people face, we can still learn from those European countries that are high up in the rankings.

The government can play its part by providing more subsidies to the poorest citizens.

There also needs to be a change of attitude by firms so they cut heavy workloads and make sure staff get enough holidays.

This will strengthen their sense of loyalty to a firm and they will be more productive.

Chung Miu-shan, Kowloon Tong