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Cities must lead way to climate solutions, Hong Kong environment minister says

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Climate Change Forum to be held on 15 Oct 2013

The Hong Kong Observatory and World Green Organisation are jointly organising “Climate Change Forum: Overview of Latest Scientific Findings of IPCC AR5 Report” on 15th October, 2013 (Tuesday). This forum will present a number of highlights from the new report. Academicians and professionals will then exchange their ideas about the possible threats to our economy and human health, which will lead us to the discussions on community initiatives.

* IPCC : Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change

The forum will be presented in Cantonese. It is free of charge but registration is needed. Click here for more details.

Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) Symposium registration closing on Tues (8 Oct)

From Dr. Peter Tom Jones and Yves Tielemans, on behalf of the organisers:

The Second International Enhanced Landfill Mining Symposium will take place in less than a weeks from now.

We’re delighted to welcome in Greenville in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium, well over 150 participants. This well balanced audience represents the different actors from the quadruple helix model being the industry, academia and knowledge centres, civil society and government administrations.

A limited number of seats are still available; please contact Hilde Thevis to reserve your seat for the academic programme, the symposium dinner or both as we are finalizing the  logistics.

The deadline for registration is Tuesday, October 8th 2013.

Academic and evening programmes

Both the scientific and the evening programmes can be found here.

The closing panel debate on the future of Landfill Mining in Europe (Wed 16/10 pm) will feature Michel Sponar (EC DG Environment), Willem Kattenberg (Nederlandse Rijksoverheid), Robert Johnson (Advanced Plasma Power), Lieze Cloots (Bond Beter Leefmilieu), Joakim Krook (Linköping University) and Jef Roos (ELFM Consortium).

Furthermore, the evening programme of the official symposium dinner (Tue 15/10 evening @ De Barrier in Houthalen- Helchteren) is complete and will include speeches from Alain Yzermans (Mayor, Houthalen-Helchteren), Henny De Baets (Administrator-General, OVAM), Ingrid Lieten (Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister of Innovation) and Kurt Vandenberghe (Director Environment, EC DG Research & Innovation).

We look forward welcoming you at the Symposium in October 2013.

Eco Expo Asia Receives Strong Support From The Hong Kong Environment Bureau

Eco Expo Asia 2009 – Published Feb. 12, 2009

Following its success in 2008, Eco Expo Asia, Hong Kong’s only trade fair that is dedicated to products, services and solutions for environmental protection returns with a new co-organiser, the Hong Kong Environment Bureau. Last year’s event attracted over 6,000 visitors from around the world, an increase of 20% as compared with 2007. The fourth edition of the fair will run from 28 – 31 October 2009 at AsiaWorld-Expo, with strong support from both local and international government associations emphasizing the need for a professional environmental protection business platform in the South China region.

With Hong Kong’s great advantage in being in close proximity to the Chinese mainland, a growing number of companies in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region are looking to Hong Kong as a platform to obtain service support including green technology and services. The two areas have reached a consensus on jointly transforming the PRD region into a green and quality living area under the principle of promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.

The Hong Kong Environment Bureau plans to work closely with PRD region government authorities to reduce emissions, develop wider use of renewable energies, enhance conservation and greening as well as increase publicity and education. They will also further promote environmental technology transfer by inviting the Chinese mainland government to form provincial and city pavilions at Eco Expo Asia 2009.

What’s more, the Chinese Central government has recently announced a US$500 billion (RMB 4 trillion) stimulus package to boost domestic consumption and growth amid the challenging global economic situation. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Minister in China has also pledged to raise another US$140 billion (RMB 1 trillion) over the next three years, dedicated solely to support renewable energy and pollution treatment within the region, making Chinese mainland one of the key markets for the environmental protection industry for both commercial and consumer perspectives.

2009 show to highlight four major sectors of the environmental protection industry

Eco Expo Asia will continue to be divided into four zones that will allow both exhibitors and visitors to better focus on what they are looking for. The highlights are:

  • Air Quality – features products and services like air pollution & gas emission control; air purification, filtration and deodorisation technology and equipment; desulphurisation and dust control technology and equipment; and gas, smoke & chemical monitoring and treatment equipment
  • Energy Efficiency & Energy – focuses on energy efficient applications; and energy saving devices and products
  • Waste & Recycling – showcases technology treatment, incineration & recycling systems of different kinds of waste and transport, collection & sorting of waste
  • Eco-friendly Product – exhibits biodegradable and recycled products and packaging; eco-friendly materials for construction and fitting; and green decorative materials

In addition, the Eco Asia Conference will once again run concurrently at the 2009 fair. The conference will also focus on these four major highlights, further augmenting the importance of these four categories. Organised by HKTDC and Messe Frankfurt, both events will be held from 28 – 31 October 2009, with 31 October opened to public.

Youth Speak Truth On State Of Air Quality

Updated on Jan 19, 2009 – SCMP

Sometimes it takes youth to speak the truth to those in power. Such was the case when 500 Hong Kong residents gathered on January 10 to discuss the growing epidemic of air pollution.

Hong Kong’s air is toxic and getting worse.

Recent studies reveal sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter 200 to 400 per cent above the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to protect basic health. The Hedley Environmental Index, developed by University of Hong Kong professor Anthony Hedley, shows the real costs in monetary and health terms.

Hong Kong suffers an average of four additional unnecessary deaths a day due to airborne toxins.

Hongkongers get the message. A survey released last month by the Hong Kong Transition Project reported that 81 per cent of local adults want the government to make reversing air pollution a priority – an almost 200 per cent increase from public opinion in 2001.

Two thirds of Hong Kong residents regularly avoid outdoor exercise and shield themselves with air conditioning; 500,000 are seriously considering leaving the city permanently.

The participants at the Air We Breathe conference, organised by Civic Exchange, sought more comprehensive solutions. Their suggestions were numerous, innovative and thoughtful, yet none seem to be on the government’s radar.

Refreshingly, it was the teenage contingent who put the issues to Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah most clearly. Their message to Mr Yau, who attended the conference, was: “You have the power; you should act. This is an issue of life and death, and the lives are ours. Fix it – now.”

Among the numerous fixes suggested, the top three were:

  • Set legally binding standards (not unenforced guidelines) for air quality, using human health as the guiding principle;
  • Adopt the latest WHO standards, which are based on the best science available to mankind; and
  • Commit to a near-term target for reaching the pollutant levels (say, 2011) and assign a blue-ribbon team, amply supported by government experts, to come up with a plan.

The people of Hong Kong have spoken. It’s time for the government to act.

Rachel Fleishman, Mid-Levels

City Dodging Duty On Air Targets, Group Says

Tiffany Lam and Peter So, SCMP – Updated on Dec 15, 2008

A green group has accused the government of dodging its duty to clear the city’s polluted air by adopting less stringent targets meant for use by developing countries.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has said the government would consider replacing the city’s 21-year-old air-quality objective with the World Health Organisation’s “interim target-1” standard, which measures particulate matter.

Friends of the Earth noted yesterday that it was the lowest standard among the four listed by the WHO for countries at different stages of development. Countries are expected to abide by stricter standards as they move up the stages.

As a “world-class city”, Hong Kong should not be bound by the lax targets designed for developing countries, the group said.

In response, the government said it was still reviewing its air-quality guidelines, and noted that in adopting the interim targets, the WHO had left it to individual countries to adopt what suited them best.

Meanwhile, hundreds of buildings in the city, including the Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Peak Tower, will go dark for an hour on March 28 to join the WWF’s “Earth Hour” global campaign that rallies people to save energy. Trevor Yang Chi-hsin, chairman of WWF Hong Kong, said the government and more than 140 business and community groups would take part.

Water Front Bike Ride For a Pollution Free Hong Kong 3

from Sheung Wan to Shau Kei Wan

Supported by :

HK Cycling Alliance

Sunday 7th December 2008 Time : 14:00 to 17:00
Press meeting place : 14:00 Cadogan Street Temporary Garden Kennedy Town

To highlight the growing demand for bicycle paths and concrete measures to reduce air pollution, as well as to make the harbour front more enjoyable to the public, the third such Waterfront Bikeride will take place on the 7th Dec. 08, starting at 14:00 from Western, Gadogan Street to Eastern, Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter.

A petition will be circulated among participants to the ride and the public that will ask relevant government departments the inclusion of bicycle paths along the harbour to answer the growing aspirations of the public for a pollution free Hong Kong and a bicycle friendly harbour front.

The petition together with collected signatures will be presented to the Harbour Enhancement Committee, consultant, to the Town Planning Board. The Bike Ride serves to show that Hong Kong people in par with residents of other major harbour cities feel the need to enjoy individual, pollution free, transportation provided by bicycles on the condition that the infrastructure exists to make it safe. In this regard, Hong Kong lags far behind other Asian cities like : Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, and KaoHsiung, that have understood this growing trend from their urban residents, to allow for bicycles a right to safely move in the city, which Hong Kong hasn’t.

Hong Kong side town planning doesn’t yet allow the right for safe bicycle transportation and this Third Bikeride is intended to show Government the appropriateness of such mode of transportation in a modern metropolis.

The trend for more environmentally friendly urban lifestyles are nowhere ignored from Europe to North America and from South America to China, so it rests on the Hong Kong authorities to provide for such bicycle friendly infrastructure in its town planning blueprint to answer the legitimate aspiration of its residents for a cleaner and healthier city.

燒脂零排放,香港更健康 ‘Burn Fat, Not Oil’ for Pollution Free Hong Kong
3rd ride of Water-front Bike-ride for Pollution Free Hong Kong’

Ride route:
2:00 Assemble / press briefing Gadogan Street Temporary Garden, Kennedy Town
2:30 Depart from Gadogan Street Temporary Garden, Kennedy Town
3:30 15mins Break Golden Bauhinia Square (to join riders from Kowloon)
3:45 Depart From Golden Bauhinia Square
4:45 Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter
5:00 Closing of event.

Scientist Warns Emissions Trading Scheme Too Little, Too Late

Article from: The Courier-Mail, By Greg Stolz | October 31, 2008

  • Flannery pessimistic about ETS
  • Predicts catastrophe within a decade
  • Impact will be unexpected

AN emissions trading scheme will not be enough to stop a potential climatic catastrophe on the same scale as the global financial crisis within 10 years, Australian scientist Tim Flannery has warned.

Dr Flannery told an international carbon market conference on the Gold Coast yesterday that emissions trading schemes alone could not save the planet in time.

The 2007 Australian of the Year said he had a “sense of foreboding” about what lay ahead if more was not done to tackle climate change.

“I suspect that within the next decade, we are likely to see some dramatic climate shift a bit like we’ve seen in our financial systems over the last few months,” he told the Carbon Market Expo Australasia conference.

“It will be swift and it will have many unintended consequences. The problem is a lot closer than we imagined.”

Dr Flannery said the catastrophe could be a large-scale methane release which would cook the planet or major ice sheet destabilisation.

He had not seen the Rudd Government’s economic modelling for the proposed emissions trading scheme but said critics should look to Europe as a guide.

“There has been no impact in Europe and there is likely to be a small impact if any in Australia in my view,” he said.

One of the best ways to slow climate change was to harness the planet’s huge natural power to suck carbon pollution out of the atmosphere, he said

Go Green To Beat Recession Blues

Timothy Chui – The Standard | Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Businesses that manage to survive the global economic crisis will face even bigger challenges from climate change unless they retool their operations now, according to the world’s foremost climate- change economist.

“The risk consequences of ignoring climate change will be very much bigger than ignoring risks in the financial system,” former British Treasury economist Lord Nicholas Stern said.

Describing the current financial crisis as the worst since World War II, Stern is forecasting recession for 80 percent of the developed world.

He said governments, while spending to bolster the financial system, should also take the opportunity to reshape the economy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“Markets will change. If you get locked into high carbon technology and the price of carbon goes up, which it will, then you’ve got a real profit risk. Those who innovate first will get the biggest returns,” he said.

Stern told an assembly of leading businesses at the Climate Group’s 2008 Conference at the JW Marriott yesterday that Hong Kong, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is among the top 10 most vulnerable cities to climate change from sea level rise and air pollution.

Fresh from last week’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing, where mainland authorities signaled their commitment to the global climate change effort to be outlined in Copenhagen next year, Stern said the likely target of 50 percent carbon dioxide reductions by 2050 would require developed nations to cut their emissions by 80 percent.

The former economist also called for more public money to be poured into carbon neutral research and development, including carbon neutral road transport and power generation.

The author of 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change said regulations such as banning combustion cars from cities by 2020 may revolutionize automobiles the way regulations that abolished leaded fuel did.

Head of HSBC Corporate Sustainability Teresa Au Pui-yi pegged the impact of rising sea levels at trillions of dollars.

Chief executive officer of Climate Group Steve Howard said delaying some key technology such as carbon capture and storage by one year would mean the concentration of CO2 mid-century going up one part per million.

“We probably only have leeway of a few tenths of parts per million,” Howard said.

Search For HK Environmental Champions

Dan Kadison, SCMP – Aug 02, 2008

The “Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest” has begun.

An international group started a search yesterday to find extraordinary Hongkongers who are improving and sustaining the environment locally and globally.

“Our point of view is look around you and notice what is working, and they’re the people we’d love you to nominate,” said Earth Champions Foundation chief executive Fiona Mathews at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central.

“It actually could be you, or it could be your neighbour, or it could be a colleague at work, or it could be your government,” she said.

Ms Mathews – a former member of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development – created the organisation in 2000 to prove to her son that the world was filled with inspiring role models.

The competition, which has already taken place in Australia and Switzerland, honours people for their work in such environmental categories as water, air, energy, transport, biodiversity and buildings.

“We have ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that’s what we want you to help us find,” Ms Mathews said at the kick-off event.

The group started accepting nominations yesterday. Nomination forms can be found at

Ms Mathews was joined yesterday by guest speakers Otto Poon Lok-to, chairman of the strategic committee for the Council for Sustainable Development; Christine Loh Kung-wai, chief executive of the think-tank Civic Exchange; and Robert Gibson, director of sustainable development at John Swire & Sons.

Sir Crispin Tickell, a climate change expert and chair of the judging panel, delivered the keynote speech. “The question is what’s in it for all of us – individual, communities, governments, the world? The answer is survival … we need champions, and today you’re being asked to become them,” Sir Crispin said.

Past “Earth Champions” have ranged from an entire primary and secondary school in Switzerland to a 93-year-old Australian conservationist who created two nature reserves and a national park in her homeland.

The South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) is a media sponsor of the “Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest”.

There is no age requirement. Nominees must reside in Hong Kong and must have enhanced the city with their environmentally friendly ideas and actions.