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Wildlife group warns of runway risks

Hong Kong Standard, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A third runway may increase carbon emissions by 75 percent when flights connecting the SAR and 14 leading Asia Pacific destinations take off in 22 years, World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong has found.

It urges the Airport Authority to provide more analysis on the impact the third runway would have not only on the Chinese white dolphins but also on the recovery of the marine ecosystem.

“The authority seems able to quantify the potential benefits of the third runway but is strikingly reluctant to inform the public of its true environmental costs,” said Andy Cornish, director of conservation at WWF-Hong Kong.
The projection is based on factors including passenger numbers from published reports of airline trade associations and travel distance between Hong Kong and destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Japan.William Yu Yuen-ping, head of the group’s climate program, estimates that with the third runway, emissions from flights connecting Chek Lap Kok to 14 destinations may jump 75.7 percent to 18.1 million tonnes in 2030, from 10.3 million tonnes in 2008.

The group also assumed that fuel efficiency will increase by about 20 percent from 2020 with the advancement in technology.

Yu said the emissions could at least double if long-haul flights are also calculated.

Cornish said members met with the authority on Thursday asking for more information on potential environmental impact but the authority declined their request.

WWF will today at the Legislative Council’s panel of economic development demand a halt to the consultation exercise.

A spokesman for the authority said it remains committed to completing the consultation on September 2 as scheduled.

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