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Extreme weather

Hong Kong vision for huge East Lantau island is a gift to private business and blind to costs of climate change

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 6:32am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 11:03am

Hong Kong may well be an economic experiment set out to determine if a “for profit only” capitalist society can manifest itself as a beacon of liberal values. The jury is still out on that, but one thing is perfectly clear – the Hong Kong government is intent upon approving massive reclamation off Lantau, and on an even larger scale than originally proposed, in the city’s biggest and costliest project to date (“In tomorrow’s world, Hong Kong’s leader sees a massive HK$500 billion artificial island in the middle of the sea”, October 10).

If this plan is indeed finally approved, the very same government should be hauled before the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity (“Island of fear: massive reclamation off Lantau would be a disaster in age of climate change and sea-level rises”, October 5)

This push for a huge artificial island, much larger than the 1,000 hectares suggested in the  Hong Kong 2030 Plus vision of 2016, the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint  of 2017 and the Task Force for Land Supply’s public consultation, comes barely two weeks after the task force’s public engagement process ended, and many more before its final report is released.

Make no mistake, this colossal and climate-changing project is a gift to private businesses to enable them to make gigantic profits. But, going by the latest special report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it will condemn our grandchildren to a furious natural world intent on getting rid of us human beings by way of a rapidly changing climate.

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Climate change will make cost of artificial island rise, experts warn

Apart from the threats posed by extreme weather and rising sea levels caused by global warming, imagine all the greenhouse gases that will be released by recreating land that exists plentifully already, in China or elsewhere.

The main driver behind suggesting these kinds of monstrous projects is the enormous infrastructure capacity Hong Kong has built up over time and which owners don’t want to have sitting idle (“Why Lantau reclamation would only breed a white elephant”, August 21). Gentrification will eventually make Hong Kong a place for the super rich and their servants – free market capitalism will ensure that.

Carrie Lam defends star Andy Lau over support for reclamation

As for the rest of us, we should be looking for Hong Kong 2.0 somewhere else, maybe in mainland China. We should not threaten our planet with disastrous consequences by building it here in Hong Kong 1.0.

Ulf Anders Olsson, Discovery Bay