Response to 2023 Policy Address
Regarding the new energy transport measures stated in the 2023 Policy Address delivered by the Chief Executive today, Clean Air Network (CAN) has the following response:
1. Zero-emission roadmap for buses and taxis neglects other commercial vehicles
The government will formulate a green transformation roadmap and timetable for public buses and taxis within the first half of 2024, which is earlier than the original schedule of 2025. However, other commercial vehicles are not included, such as public light buses and goods vehicles. As the level of roadside air pollution in Hong Kong continues to exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, a clear strategy to eliminate the chief source of pollutants, which is the commercial vehicular fleet, should be laid down as soon as possible.
CAN also believe that more aggressive targets should be set in the roadmap to be launched next year. The government’s current target of introducing about 700 electric buses and 3,000 electric taxis by the end of 2027 only accounts for 12% of the buses and 16% of the taxis in Hong Kong, which is unsatisfactory.
In addition, the roadmap should provide a comprehensive fast-charging deployment strategy to support the green transformation of buses, taxis and other commercial vehicles.
2. Green maritime fuel bunkering action plan should include more fuel options
CAN is pleased to see the introduction of an action plan for green methanol bunkering for local and ocean-going vessels next year. As the International Maritime Organization incorporated in its strategy the target to reach net-zero emissions from international shipping close to 2050, Hong Kong’s development of zero-emission green methanol bunkering, a departure from solely focusing on liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is not completely zero-emission, will help maintain its competitiveness and catch up with other ports in Asia, such as Singapore and Busan.
Meanwhile, the government will investigate the provision of other green fuel options, including hydrogen and ammonia. CAN believes that these options can also be included in the upcoming action plan, so as to provide diversified choices, benefiting the long-term development of Hong Kong’s shipping industry.
3. Putting the focus on green hydrogen
The development of hydrogen fuel is critical to the green transformation of commercial vehicles. While CAN welcomes the formulation of the Strategy of Hydrogen Development in Hong Kong in the first half of next year, we urge the government to focus on the development of green hydrogen and formulate a roadmap accordingly, in order to truly achieve zero-emission.