Carrie Lam
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
A playground in Heng Fa Chuen is destroyed after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong on September 16, 2018. Hong Kong can expect more extreme weather events as the impact of climate change makes itself felt around the world. Photo: Winson Wong

Letters | How Carrie Lam’s policy address can have an impact on climate change

  • Readers discuss the need to seriously address climate change in the policy address, the possible environmental impact of a planned railway line, the implications of the liaison office chief’s visit to ‘caged homes’, and a US general’s call to China
Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be delivering what could be her last policy address today. What can we expect? Last year, she pledged Hong Kong would go carbon neutral before 2050. Will Mrs Lam back her promise with concrete action this time around?

Despite being a small city and having one of the most service-oriented economies in the world, Hong Kong’s per-capita carbon emissions surpass other developed economies, including France, Chile and Sweden.

The Hong Kong government must demonstrate climate leadership and the political willpower to realise climate policies, given that the city is one of the steering committee members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
Rather than turning to dead ends like natural gas, Hong Kong should be working with the Greater Bay Area to harness the region’s still-untapped potential in solar, onshore and offshore wind, and tidal energy.

Transportation must be electrified much earlier than the current proposed target of only setting a timetable around 2025, supported by walking and cycling policies to promote low-carbon, healthy modes of transport.

Society is expected to bear the consequences of carbon-emitting activities, but these activities are not priced to reflect their true cost to society.

As one of the world’s top financial centres, the city should be developing its green finance talent pool and aligning with globally recognised green and sustainability standards to establish itself as a global green financial hub.

Hong Kong’s low-carbon shift requires a recognition that decarbonisation should be the government’s overarching goal. It needs bureaus working together – and not in silos – to integrate climate policies in a holistic manner.

Climate change is the biggest crisis we face today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called a “code red for humanity”, warns the world to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 if we intend to limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.


Grim warning for Hong Kong as UN releases major report on climate crisis

Grim warning for Hong Kong as UN releases major report on climate crisis
China’s Henan province – which was hit by the disastrous flood in July that claimed over 300 lives and continues to be battered by torrential rain – is a grim reminder that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe and that no one is immune to the effects of climate change.

With Mrs Lam delivering the last policy address of her current term, will she commit to more than just minimum targets and empty promises? Will she help Hong Kong transition to a climate-resilient economy and reaffirm its status as a global city?

Wendell Chan, senior policy research and advocacy officer, Friends of the Earth (HK)

Ensure rail to Qianhai doesn’t harm Mai Po wetlands

I am writing in response to news that the government plans to build a railway connecting Hung Shui Kiu in the New Territories and Qianhai in Shenzhen (“Hong Kong leader to ‘unveil plans for new rail link’ with Qianhai in policy address”, September 16).
This is a project that would require an environmental permit, according to the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance.
The possible alignment of this railway may pass beneath Deep Bay, and Mai Po nature reserve and Inner Deep Bay, a designated Ramsar Site since September 1995. Those areas are of high ecological value. So, such a project may have greater ecological impact than the construction of the Hong Kong section of the express rail link to Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
In 2000, the proposed Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau spur line was initially rejected when the director of environmental protection refused to issue an environmental permit for it, on the grounds that the project would cause “ adverse environmental impact to Long Valley”, an area of “high ecological value with a high diversity of birds”. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation was made to adjust its plans.

I hope green groups study the construction of the proposed railway connecting Hung Shui Kiu to Qianhai during the consultation period of its study brief and the environmental impact assessment process.

Since the enactment of the Hong Kong national security law, some people and organisations are afraid that they may be prosecuted if they share opinions that are different from the government’s views. I hope our government listens to the public.

Felix Mak, Kowloon Bay

Heed liaison office head’s battle cry

The central government’s top representative in Hong Kong, Mr Luo Huining, has taken the rare initiative to visit some of Hong Kong’s most economically disadvantaged residents, who live in a miserable space of less than two square metres (“Beijing’s top man in Hong Kong visits ‘cage home’ and medical service as part of drive to ‘listen directly’ to the people”, October 1).

Now, we can expect housing reform to finally take off in Hong Kong. Twenty-four years after the handover, the Hong Kong government is belatedly moving to overhaul housing in the city.

Mr Luo raised the battle cry: who should Hong Kong’s economic development serve?

This is a good start as Hong Kong has always needed a prominent mandarin to launch meaningful economic and social reform.

We can’t wait another 24 years.

Khaw Wei Kang, Shenzhen

What US general’s call says about US-China relations

Because US General Mark Milley called People’s Liberation Army General Li Zoucheng, we read the follow-up report “Departing Trump ‘stoked fears of surprise attack’” (October 4).

Now close your eyes and imagine what would have happened had it been General Li who called General Milley on January 6, or the days after, and assured him: “We are not attacking you, no matter how big a mess you’re in!”

I’m convinced that the “free press” of the Western world would have treated such news with front-page coverage for weeks, if not months.

Aren’t we perfectly used to such subtle differences?

Roland Guettler, Lai Chi Kok