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February 14th, 2008:

Global Warming Blamed For Unusual Cold Spell

Nishika Patel

Thursday, February 14, 2008 – The Standard

As Hong Kong shivers through its second-longest cold spell since 1885, scientists point to global warming to explain the abnormal cold weather phenomenon worldwide. Unusually cold weather is gripping a number of countries, including China and Canada.

“We are seeing extremely unusual weather across the world,” said polar researcher Rebecca Lee Lok-sze. “This is due to human activities and our style of living. Carbon dioxide emissions are heavy, which is changing the weather rapidly. We could see colder winters and hotter summers in the future in Hong Kong.”

Greenpeace echoed the view, saying mainland scientists had also concluded that the extreme cold weather in China was triggered by climate change. “This does not only cause an increase in global warming but also causes extreme weather patterns,” said campaigner Edward Chan.

Hong Kong yesterday recorded its second- longest cold spell – 21 days. The longest cold period – when temperatures fall below 12 degrees Celsius – lasted 27 days in 1968. This record is expected to remain intact as the thermometer is forecast to register a low of 13 degrees by Sunday.

Hong Kong has also experienced more than 456 hours of cold weather this winter – more than double the 205-hour record in January 2004.

Some experts have said the cold weather in China and Canada may be linked to La Nina, a sea-surface cooling pattern in the east Pacific, which leads to a warmer sea surface in the west Pacific near China and Asia.

” La Nina is causing warm moist air to move to the south of China,” said Professor Yan Yuk- yee, who specializes in climatology at Hong Kong Baptist University. “When this meets the cold air of the monsoon, it causes freezing conditions.”

The cold spell has led to higher admissions to public hospitals. In most wards, occupancy is already full, the Hospital Authority said. Contingency measures including strengthening of the manpower in accident and emergency departments and medical wards are being implemented to relieve the pressure, its spokesman

Swire Spells Out New Green Policy

Patsy Moy – The Standard

Thursday, February 14, 2008

One of the city’s biggest landlords is calling on its tenants to save energy and protect the environment. Under a set of guidelines to be issued soon, Swire Properties will ask its office and shopping mall tenants to install sensors to control the use of lighting and electrical appliances.

Other suggestions include using energy-efficient office equipment and informing management of the times they do not need ventilation for their stores or offices such as after office hours. Swire technical services head Cary Chan Wing-hong said the new guidelines will spell out the company’s green policy in detail.

Under the last guidelines issued in 2000, tenants were told to abandon furniture and interior designs that contained volatile organic compounds as these can evaporate into the air and contribute to the formation of ozone.

Tenants were also encouraged to use wood that came from certified sustainable forests.

In addition, Swire provided light bulbs that were energy efficient but agreed it was up to the tenants whether or not to use them.

“As a landlord, we do not have the power to make our measures compulsory. Even so, we made and will continue to make efforts to raise the green awareness of our tenants and the community,” Chan said.

Sun Hung Kai Properties issued a green menu to tenants of its 50 shopping malls and 60 office and industrial buildings a couple of years ago, urging the use of more biodegradable compounds, according to Irene Wai Hon Shuk-ching, general manager of Kai Shing, a building management arm of Sun Hung Kai.

Swire said most tenants were happy to adopt the proposed measures and did not mind paying a bit more for renovation and energy-saving office equipment. “They know their investment will pay dividends in the long term,” Chan said.

Last month Swire and several other property developers were “named and shamed” by a concern group for failing to adopt energy-efficiency measures as part of a voluntary government scheme.

The electricity used by Hong Kong buildings constitutes about 90 percent of the city’s power consumption.

Chan said the accusations hurled against them were unfair as tenants needed power for lighting and air- conditioning to keep their businesses running. He said that unlike many surrounding buildings that are lit up to catch public attention, Swire has minimized the use of decorative lighting outside its buildings.

Chan said Swire has received excellent ratings under the Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method.