8th October, 2021
Clean Air Network
Response to Climate Action Plan 2050
The Environment Bureau announced today the Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 (“Action Plan”). In overall, Clean Air Network (“CAN”) welcomes the Government’s approach to strengthen capacity building on institutional, financial and technology areas for Hong Kong to address climate change. However, there seems to be a lack of intensity or urgency especially for deep-decarbonising the transport sector (which will be detailed in the second and third sections below), which is currently the second largest carbon emission source.
Steering and Coordination
Specifically, we welcome the Government proposal in the Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 (“Action Plan”) to continue to allocate resources to address climate change especially with a view to restructure the organization within the Government. New arrangements include the Chief Executive to chair the Steering Committee on Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality, and the proposal for Environment Bureau to set up a new Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality. It is expected the new organization will enhance the coordination among Government bureaus and departments.
CAN also welcomes the initiatives proposed by the Action Plan to trial new energy buses, taxis and ferries. However, we are disappointed as the Action Plan does not provide development target for charging infrastructure, and plans on operation and financial models regarding new energy commercial vehicles and public transport.
In additional, CAN recommends the Government to develop the new energy vehicle roadmap with specific timeline to phase out conventional commercial vehicles and public transport. For example, the UK has set a more ambitious timeframe to phase out ICE light duty commercial vehicles to 2030, and Singapore to phase out all ICE vehicles, including heavy duty buses, by 2040.
In terms of infrastructure development, the Government should develop charging facilities installation plan specific for public transport or commercial vehicles in Public Transport Interchange or Bus Terminuses in all districts, in order to provide the necessary conditions for operators to transit to zero emission fleet.
Compared to the Climate Action Plan 2030+ published in 2017, the focus on traffic management is significantly reduced. There were sections about “controlling rate of private car growth”, “electronic road pricing”, “walkability” in 2017 version but missing in the latest Action Plan. Specifically, the 30-month “Consultancy Study on Enhancing Walkability in Hong Kong” commenced in 2017 by the Transport Department is long overdue.
The rate of private vehicle growth and the level of traffic congestion has not been significantly improved since 2017, whereas the contribution of transport to Hong Kong’s total carbon emissions has increased from 16% in 2015 to 18% in 2019.
It was disappointing to see lack of substantial progress made and new plan proposed in the Action Plan to strengthen transport demand management.
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