The Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program
A valued member of Clear The Air has expressed his concern over the fact that Hong Kong has not signed up to be part of the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program. He has done so by preparing the following summary of what the CCP is as well as sending letters to various Government Departments expressing his view and opinion about the program. Below is his summary on the CCP followed by the letters he has sent and the replies he has recieved.
The Hong Kong SAR and the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program
An Initiative to Improve the Air Quality (and Address the City’s Global Climate Change Obligations)
The Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program is an initiative of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). The ICLEI is an international association of local and regional government organisations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. It was established in 1990 when more than 200 local government representatives from 42 countries met at the United Nations in New York.
The CCP program was subsequently established in 1993 – also at a meeting in the UN. The CCP program builds on the existing government structures and facilities to institutionalise reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in a range of social, economic and environmental benefits.
Since its inception in 1993 the CCP program has grown to include more than 700 cities and local governments around the world.
THE CITIES FOR CLIMATE PROTECTION PROGRAM
On joining the CCP program each city commits to:-
- Develop a ‘local action plan’,
- Significantly reduce energy use and emissions associated with municipally-owned buildings and vehicles,
- Change public behaviour through information, advice, awareness raising, promotion and training,
- Join strategic procurement initiatives promoting cost effective CO2 reduction technologies,
- Seek a partnership with a municipality in the developing countries or in emerging economies (Cities for Climate Protection http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=1651)
To help cities achieve their objectives the ICLEI provides specific tools, publications and technical assistance, including dedicated software programs.
The CCP program itself is divided into five parts:-
- Conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecast – the inventory and forecast provide a benchmark against which the city can measure its progress,
- Set an emissions reduction target for the year – helps fosters political will and creates a framework for the action plan,
- Develop an action plan – including policies and measures for both direct and indirect reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, financing mechanisms, responsibilities of departments and staff, etc.,
- Implement policies and measures – such as energy efficiency improvements to buildings and water treatment, use of renewable power, reduction and recycling of waste, methane recovery from landfills, street light retrofits, etc.,
- Monitoring and verification of results – provides feedback to modify and improve the action plan. It also provides data for the general public, many of whom are increasingly interested in concrete results for climate change mitigation measures. (Cities for Climate Protection http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=810)
BENEFITS OF THE CCP PROGRAM FOR HONG KONG:-
- A reduction in the urban heat island effect,
- A reduction in low level smog formation,
- Meeting of Hong Kong’s global obligations with regard to greenhouse gas emissions,
- Regional benefits – economic and environmental,
- A reduction in Hong Kong’s contribution to the Asian atmospheric brown cloud.
Hong Kong is facing problems relating to air pollution and the urban heat island effect. The city’s air pollution problem is linked to global climate change through the burning of fossil fuels.
Control of the HKSAR’s air pollution (and greenhouse gas emissions) requires a coherent coordinated plan. The CCP program is an established world wide program providing a range of social, economic and environmental benefits. The program primarily targets greenhouse gas emissions but in doing so it will help to address the Hong Kong’s air pollution problem. It will also help to reduce the city’s increasing urban heat island effect.
Below is the letter sent out to Governmental Departments:
Hon Audrey Eu Yuet-mee,
Chairman Legco Panel on Environmental Affairs,
Room 601, Citibank Tower,
3 Garden Road,
22nd September, 2007.
Dear Ms. Eu,
Hong Kong has been my home for the last 18 years. I originally trained as a zoologist, however, I am currently employed as a pilot by one of the airlines based here. As such, I am acutely aware of the deteriorating air quality in the HKSAR.
These days a flight into Hong Kong frequently encounters the Asian Atmospheric Brown Cloud (Asian ABC) while descending through the altitudes between about 12,000 to 18,000 feet. In the daytime, when flying clear of clouds, the ABC appears as a brown haze layer. It can also be detected in the aircraft cabin by a strong acrid smell. The ABC is composed of carbon particulates, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides; all of which are the combustion products of coal, oil, natural gas and biomass. In the presence of sunlight a photochemical reaction also results in the formation of low level ozone.
In the final stages of an approach to land at Hong Kong International Airport the visibility can, on occasions, be severely reduced by low level atmospheric smog and/or haze. In extreme cases the visibility can reduce to as low as 1,200 metres, and were it not for the instrument landing systems installed at the airport, flights would be unable to land.
Hong Kong’s increasing air pollution problem is intimately linked to global climate change through the burning of fossil fuels. Recent research by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Civic Exchange organisation has shown that in the year 2006 for just over half of the time (53% or 192 days), local pollution sources were the primary contributor to Hong Kong’s air pollution. Just over one third of the time (36% or 132 days) regional sources were the main contributor with the remainder (11% or 41 days) being classified as low pollution.
– In other words the HKSAR has a significant degree of control over the quality of its own air. –
The HKSAR needs to get involved with one of the city networks where people share their experiences and ideas on air pollution. The Cities for Climate Protection program (http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=800) is an established global network providing a range of social, economic and environmental benefits. The program targets greenhouse gas emissions and in doing so will help to address the HKSAR’s air pollution problem and the city’s increasing urban heat island effect. Ultimately this will help to make Hong Kong a better place for people to live and work in and a more attractive place for businesses to invest in.
Member of ‘Clear the Air’
cc Emily Lau Wai-hing, Deputy Cahirman, Panel on Environmental Affairs,
Martin Lee Chu-ming, Member for Hong Kong Island,
Sin Chung-kai, Member for Information Technology,
Wong Yung-kan, Member for Agriculture and Fisheries,
Lau Kong-wah, Member for the New Territories East,
Miriam Lau Kin-yee, Member for Transport,
Choy So-yuk, Member for Hong Kong Island,
Lee Wing-tat, Member for the New Territories West,
Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, Member for Commercial,
Tam Heung-man, Member for Accountancy.
This is the response recieved by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC):
3 October 2007
Dear [Clear The Air Member],
Thank you for your letter addressed to the Chamber Chairman Dr Lily Chiang.
We agree with you that the HKSAR has a significant degree of control over the quality of its own air. Besides the Government, it is also very important for everyone to take part, including the business sector. I am pleased to tell you that some 600 organisations and companies have so far signed the Clean Air Charter, a business sector-wide environmental initiative being driven by Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) and the Hong Kong Business Coalition on the Environment under Project CLEAR AIR. Among the signatories are the HKSAAR Government, all of the HKGCC General Committee members and all 28 foreign chambers in Hong Kong. The Project has been supported by a series of campaign activities to engage the government, business sector and the community in a collective effort to combat air pollution.
At the same time, despite Hong Kong’s comparatively small share in greenhouse gas emissions, as a cosmopolitan city, we have a part in contributing to the global effort on climate change. The HKGCC Environment Committee has recently formed a working group to seek ways to raise the awareness of the impact of climate change and help play a part in the government’s action plan in meeting out global obligations.
I am happy to copy your letter to the HKSAR Government, and enclose information of the Project CLEAN AIR for your reference.
Thank you very much.
c.c. Mr Oscar Chow, Chairman of the Environment Committee, HKGCC
Dr Andrew Thomson, Chief Executive Officer, Business Environment Council
And the response recieved from the Business Environment Council (BEC):
Dear [Clear The Air Member],
Thank you for you letter dated 15th September to Andrew Thomson of the Business Environment Council (BEC).
We agree that HKSAR needs to get involved with one of the city networks where people share their experiences and ideas on air pollution. We are aware of the Cities for Climate Protection Programme (CCP) and the Business Environment Council is in the process of setting up a Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF) which will develop a local action plan to try and reduce energy use and emissions. As well as running workshops on behaviour change, and finance much needed research on understanding the local and PRD impacts.
We expect the CCBF to be up and running within this month and we will make sure that it hooks into initiatives such as the CCP.
Thank you again for your letter.
For further information in the CCBF please do not hesitate to contact me.
Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF)
cc Dr. Lily Chiang, Chairman of the General Committee, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce,
Mr. Oscar Chow, Chairman of the Environment Committee, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce,
Ms. Gaby Oetterli, Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Environment Council