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August, 2011:

Public Consultation on the Restriction of Sale of Energy-inefficient Incandescent Light Bulbs

Consultation document : consultation_paper_eng
Response Form PDF : response_form_eng
This paper informs Members that the Administration launched a
three-month public consultation on the restriction of sale of
energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs (ILB) on 12 August 2011.

PURPOSE  This paper informs Members that the Administration launched a three-month public consultation on the restriction of sale of energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs (ILB) on 12 August 2011.

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Sharp decline in quality of sea water

South China Morning Post – 22 Aug 2011

Watchdog says weather is largely to blame, but a sceptical green activist points to untreated sewage still being pumped into the harbour

Hot weather, heavy rainfall, pollution from the Pearl River and other unknown causes have been blamed for one of the worst declines in the quality of marine water last year.

A report by the Environmental Protection Department says quality deteriorated in several districts, including central Victoria Harbour, Tolo Harbour, Southern and Deep Bay, which all fell short of the overall water quality objectives.

Eastern waters – including the planned route of the first cross-harbour swim in 30 years – all met the standards. The event, once held between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central, will be staged between North Point and Lei Yue Mun in October.

The environmental watchdog declined to comment on whether water quality had improved so far this year, saying only that it was comparable to last year’s.

The annual marine water quality report issued by the department last week says the city’s overall water quality objectives compliance rate hit the lowest level – 80 per cent – since 2001. This means that up to 20 per cent of the time the waters failed at least one of the water quality standards such as E coli bacteria, dissolved oxygen – which is vital to marine organisms – and total inorganic nitrogen or nutrients in the water.

Water samples are collected at a network of 76 water monitoring stations once a month.

The Deep Bay waters continued to have the lowest compliance rate at 40 per cent, while eastern waters in Tseung Kwan O met the objectives all year round. Tolo Harbour registered the worst deterioration, falling from 71 per cent in 2009 to 50 per cent, due to “zero” dissolved oxygen compliance at all monitoring stations there.

Environment officials described it as a “rare phenomenon” that had only happened once in the past 15 years. They believed it was caused by heavy rainfall rather than a rise in pollution discharged into the harbour.

The compliance in central Victoria Harbour also dropped significantly from 93 per cent in 2009 to 77 per cent last year, again due to poor dissolved oxygen readings. Most of the shortfalls took place during hot and wet months.

The department said high temperatures could slow the rate at which oxygen dissolved in water, and heavy rain could prevent mixing of the top and bottom layers of water columns to improve oxygen levels.

While water quality sometimes hinges on the weather, the report blamed excessive nutrient levels for poorer water quality in southern waters and Deep Bay. It says this might have been caused by pollution from the Pearl River after heavy rain.

Dr Man Chi-sum, chief executive of Green Power and a government environment adviser, said the department should not blame weather and external factors for the deterioration of water quality. “Some of our sewage is still pumped untreated into the waters, while the wastewater collected at the sewage treatment works is not being treated to the most desirable standard,” he said.

The Environmental Protection Department plans to collect the remaining raw sewage, mostly from Hong Kong Island, for the city’s largest sewage treatment works in Stonecutters Island by 2014.

New bloc shifts power in Legco

South China Morning Post – 22 Aug. 2011

Launch of pro-business alliance to combat ‘populist’ sentiments will change the political landscape by creating three major alliances in the legislature

Hong Kong’s already fragmented legislature faces a power shift, with 12 lawmakers announcing yesterday they had formed a pro-business alliance to counter what they call rising radical and populist sentiments in society.

The bloc, which has yet to be formally named, will have more lawmakers than the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and progress of Hong Kong, which has 10. It consists of:

  • three Liberal Party lawmakers: Miriam Lau Kin-yee, Vincent Fang Kang and Tommy Cheung Yu-yan;
  • four from Economic Synergy: Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, Lau Wong-fat and Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen;
  • four from Professional Forum: Dr Raymond Ho Chung-tai, Abraham Razack, Professor Patrick Lau Sau-shing and Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun;
  • and independent lawmaker Philip Wong Yu-hong.

Lam will act as convenor, with Miriam Lau and Ho as deputies.

Lam said: “We believe most Hong Kong people want a stable society rather than growing populism and radical movements that make society more divided.”

He cited the by-elections triggered by the resignation of five pan-democratic lawmakers in March last year as one motivating factor behind the new group.

Lam said the alliance would not bind its members when they cast votes in the legislature, and the existing political groupings represented by respective members would not combine in the near future.

The Legislative Council now has three major factions: the pan-democrats with 23 votes; the pro-establishment camp – which includes the DAB and the Federation of Trade Unions – with 14 votes; and the new pro-business alliance with 12 votes. <ie 14 + 12 is better than 23>

Lam said the alliance came together because the members found common ground on social and economic issues. They began discussions on forming a coalition several months ago as they saw society had become more divided and the political atmosphere more radical.

Andrew Leung said members would not rule out the possibility of developing further as an organised political party in future. Miriam Lau, who is chairwoman of the Liberal Party, said: “We were seen as divided groups in the past and therefore our bargaining power was weak.”

She would vote according to her party in the event of a voting preference that conflicted with the alliance.

“My loyalty rests with the Liberal Party.” But she said the alliance would give the party a platform to take a united stance on policies and to strengthen its bargaining power in negotiations with the government.

The power reshuffle comes after three former Liberal Party lawmakers – Lam, Sophie Leung and Andrew Leung – walked out three years ago amid an intense leadership power struggle. They then set up the pro-business group Economic Synergy.

The political restructuring also comes ahead of the District Council elections in November, in which Lam said the alliance would field “no less than 50 candidates”.

He also said it would co-operate in the elections for the Election Committee that selects the chief executive in January and for Legco in September next year.

“When someone declares their candidacy for the chief executive election, we will give our voice as well,” Lam said.

James Sung Lap-kung, a City University political scientist, said it would now be easier for the government to canvass support from pro-establishment camp as it only needed to negotiate with a few groups.

He said the new alliance had a hidden agenda. “It shows they have stepped up efforts to keep the functional constituencies in the Legco election in 2020.”

The government has yet to say if it will scrap functional constituencies to ensure all lawmakers are elected by universal suffrage by 2020.

We can help, say dolphin defenders

Hong Kong Standard

A conservation group wants the Airport Authority to take more notice of green groups that may help minimize the environmental impact of a third runway.

Samson Lee

Monday, August 22, 2011

A conservation group wants the Airport Authority to take more notice of green groups that may help minimize the environmental impact of a third runway.

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said a balance may be struck between infrastructure development and environmental protection.

“It is about give and take,” Hung said. “If we take something from the environment, we need to give something back to the environment.”

However, consultancy reports released on August 8 by the authority still do not address concerns over the environmental threat, particularly to Chinese white dolphins

Hung said the studies provide information about the impact on air quality, but fail to tell the public how the dolphins will be affected and what mitigation measures the authority will take to protect the endangered creatures.

Calling on the authority to reveal the full environmental impact, he said “if there are serious problems, we can discuss together to find a solution.”

Hung hopes there will be more positive developments and talks with the authority before the end of consultation next month.

“Some people think we are radical and make some unreasonable requests. Actually, we are rational and for the good of Hong Kong.”

He said green groups tend to be placed in a position against the authority because it always mentions economic benefits instead of environmental costs.

“We are forced to oppose them because they do not consider the environmental impact seriously.”

Hung said there are about 200 Chinese white dolphins using Hong Kong waters and they are facing threats such as overfishing, water pollution and high-speed ferries.

He said the proposed reclamation area for the third runway is at the center of three core locations frequented by the dolphins – Lung Kwu Chau, the Brothers Islands and Tai O to Fan Lau waters.

Timothy Fok tops Legco no-show list again

South China Morning Post – 16 August 2010

As the Legislative Council heads into its last session before elections in September next year, its least active lawmakers have failed to show any sign of revival from their torpor.

Timothy Fok Tsun-ting remained the most reluctant lawmaker in the legislative year just ended. Fok, who has represented the sports, performing arts, culture and publications functional constituency since 1998, had the worst attendance and one of the worst voting records of the 60 lawmakers. While that echoes his previous record in analyses conducted by the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583announcementsnews) , his participation on some panels has shown further deterioration.

Fok topped the absentee list for full council meetings for the sixth consecutive year: he attended 22 of its 35 meetings, or 64 per cent, compared to the 96 per cent attendance average of Legco members.

The Legco session that ended on July 13 also marked the ninth year of his 13 as a lawmaker in which Fok had the worst attendance. He also missed or failed to vote in 122, or 65 per cent, of the 187 votes cast in full council meetings in the past year, compared with the average of 25.4 per cent.

The member who lodged the fewest votes was finance sector lawmaker David Li Kwok-po, who missed 90.3 per cent of votes.Medical sector representative Dr Leung Ka-lau was next, at 66.3 per cent.

Fok’s poor performance was consistent across chamber business. He had the lowest attendance on five of the nine major panels and committees he joined. He attended fewer than a third of the 32 meetings of the House Committee, on which all lawmakers except the Legco president sit – a slight deterioration on his performance the previous year.

Repeated attempts by the Post to contact Fok for comment failed. In response to the Post’s analysis of attendances in 2009 – when he was also bottom – he said attendance records were “too simple a tool to judge a lawmaker’s performance”.

While Fok’s average participation at meetings of the seven panels to which he belonged was 39 per cent – up from 33 per cent the previous year – he was among the worst three lawmakers in terms of attendance on all seven panels.

His average was improved slightly by better performance in attending meetings of the home affairs panel, the business of which corresponds most closely with that of his functional constituency. While last year the Post reported that Fok did not show up at a single meeting of the panel, this year he attended eight of its 15 meetings, or 53 per cent, bettering two lawmakers, People Power’s Wong Yuk-man (27 per cent) and pro-government lawmaker Philip Wong Yu-hong (40 per cent).

While it is unsurprising that lawmakers from functional constituencies tend to be less keen to attend meetings and vote on motions or bills than those from geographical constituencies, some directly elected lawmakers also have poor records.

Independent pan-democrat Leung Yiu-chung was either absent or did not press the voting button for 104 of the 197 votes, or 56 per cent – more than doubling the 25 per cent of votes he missed in the previous year.

Independent pan-democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo attended just 13 (or 36 per cent) of the 36 meetings of the Public Accounts Committee, the group that stirred heated debate by criticising government figures over 2009’s East Asian Games and directly subsidised schools. Cheng, a solicitor, said being a lawmaker was not his only job. “The [Public Accounts Committee] clashed with many of my other meetings.

“I will withdraw from it in the coming session,” he said. “And I do not only work for one job only… I may not seek re-election next year.”

The Civic Party’s Ronny Tong Ka-wah had the poorest record of attending meetings on Lehman Brothers minibonds issues. He turned up at just four of the 51 hearings of the Lehman Brothers minibond subcommittee, only surpassing in attendance the no-show of the medical sector’s Leung, who quit after four meetings.

Tong said he deliberately skipped the meetings because he thought the purpose of the hearings was to study the structure of the minibonds, not to hear complaints from the victims.

Leung was not available for comment.

Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said that while different lawmakers may have their reasons to skip Legco, “both functional and geographical lawmakers should work equally hard”.

Airport Authority Hong Kong issues eagerly awaited tender for core category concessions

HONG KONG. Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) will this week issue tenders for its core category duty free concessions at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), setting in motion what may be the most hotly contested bids in industry history. [UPDATED STORY – The tenders were formally issued this afternoon (Monday, 15 August) Hong Kong time..]

On offer are the highly valued Liquor & Tobacco concession currently operated by Sky Connection, and the Perfumes & Cosmetics and Airside General Merchandise concessions, held by Nuance-Watson (HK). The bid deadline is 28 October.

The Moodie Report estimates liquor and tobacco sales last year at HKIA to have reached around US$200 million, with perfumes & cosmetics a little higher at about US$225 million.

But what really makes the contracts so attractive is HKIA’s passenger mix. AAHK noted that over 70% of its passenger base stems from Asia. Critically, 27% are from Mainland China, a booming market that has become an increasingly vital driver of the sector’s growth in recent years, particularly at HKIA.

Other high-spending nationalities are also to the fore: Taiwan accounts for 18%, South and Southeast Asia for 15%, Japan 7% and South Korea 5%. Such a mix amounts to a retailer’s dream.

The Liquor & Tobacco duty free licence, currently operated by Sky Connection, comprises 15 units across Departures and Arrivals. The space on offer covers around 2,730sq m, with stores measuring 20sqm up to 770sq m coming under this contract.

High rents hit bosses more than wage floor

South China Morning Post — 16 August 2011

Only 8pc of businesses polled say the minimum wage has raised operating costs

High rents rather than the minimum wage represent the biggest threat to small and medium-sized businesses, a study shows.

Just 8 per cent of the businesses polled said the minimum wage had increased their operating costs, while more than 90 per cent said ever-rising rents hurt them more.

The survey casts doubt on claims by some businesses that the HK$28 per hour minimum wage, which came into force in May, had increased their operating costs.

The Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs polled the bosses of 100 stores employing fewer than 50 people in shopping malls owned by The Link, which owns 180 properties on public housing estates, and developers Cheung Kong (Holdings) (SEHK: 0001), Sun Kung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development (SEHK: 0012). It interviewed in more depth about a dozen businesses to gather their views on the minimum wage.

More than 70 per cent of respondents said the wage law had not put them under greater economic pressure. Some 80 per cent said rent was their largest single expense, with 65 per cent saying it accounted for more than 40 per cent of revenue.

More than 90 per cent said staying in business was tough, and most of them attributed their problems to rent.

Law Pui-shan, the commission’s policy research officer, said the findings proved that most small and medium-sized enterprises had not suffered as a result of the law. “Since many such businesses see high rent as unavoidable, they shift their attention to their workers’ wages, sometimes without justification,” she said.

She urged the government to release an assessment of how the minimum wage had affected businesses. She also called on it to find ways to tackle the growing power of property developers. “If not, we don’t see how rents can go down.”

Property developers have been the target of protests in recent months. Organisers of the annual July 1 march made “toppling property hegemony” – the dominance of property developers over the economy and politics – one of its key themes, while activists brought a ParknShop to a standstill in March in a protest against the chain’s owner, tycoon Li Ka-shing.


Great Hall, University of Sydney
16 August, 2011

The motion ‘we need a nanny state’ was carried at this debate.

Pre-debate poll: For 28%, Against 50%, Undecided 22%,

Post–debate poll: For 67%, Against 27%, Undecided 6%

From internet filtering to junk food advertising, everyone has an opinion on how much government should be able to regulate our lives. Does government edict save lives, improve our social well-being and protect the vulnerable; or does it interfere with our fundamental freedom and the incentive to take responsibility for our own actions? Does it hamper our need to experiment, take risks and the challenges that ensure we mature as individuals and as a society? Should regulation to protect or curb a minority be imposed on the majority? Where do we draw the boundary between private choices and public obligations?


  • Dr Simon Longstaff has a PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge. Prior to becoming the inaugural Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre in 1991, Dr Longstaff worked in the Northern Territory in the Safety Department of BHP subsidiary, GEMCO; lectured at Cambridge University and was a consultant to the Cambridge Commonwealth and Overseas Trusts. His book Hard Cases, Tough Choices was published in 1997. Dr Longstaff was inaugural President of the Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics and is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum. He is Chairman of Woolworths Limited Corporate Responsibility Panel and AMP Capital Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee


  • Simon Chapman is Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney. His current research involves examining how health and medical issues are covered in the news media; the implications for tobacco control of web 2.0 technology; and characteristics of public health research (and its dissemination) which impact on public health policy. His book Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History (2007) outlines his leadership in the tobacco control campaign, its success and the work still to be done.
  • Christopher Zinn is the Director for Communications at CHOICE, an independent publisher of consumer information, an active advocacy group and the public face of the Australia Consumers’ Association (ACA). Choice has more than 200,000 subscribers who receive independent and expert advice on the products and services available in the marketplace, while the wider community benefits from campaigns that champion consumer rights.
  • Patrick Bateman is currently completing his Law degree at the University of Sydney. He was President of the Student Union from 2009 to 2010 and remains on the Board. Pat is a winner of the University’s Justice Kirby Plain Speaking Competition, the Intercol Oration and the World Universities Public Speaking Championship. He has represented the University in three World Universities Debating Championships and three Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships. Pat recently won the Jessup International Law Moot in Washington D.C. The founder of the University’s first Public Speaking Society, Pat is one of several volunteer coaches who spend each week training international students in public communication.


  • Chris Berg is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs, a public policy think tank “dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of economic and political freedom.” He is a regular columnist with the Sunday Age and ABC’s The Drum, covering cultural, political and economic issues. His published works include The Growth of Australia’s Regulatory State (2008) The National Curriculum: A Critique (2011) and 100 Great Books of Liberty (editor, with John Roskam, 2010).
  • Eleanor Jones is a fourth year Arts/Law student, currently undertaking Honours in History. She is writing her thesis on the legal history of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church in America. Elle was the Director of the USU’s Debates Program in 2010 and has been involved in judging the Kirby competition for the past two years. Elle has just been awarded the Best Speaker at the Australasian Debating Championships held in Korea in July 2011. In 2010, she competed in the finals of both the Austral-Asian and World Debating Championships. She was awarded the 4th Best Individual Speaker in Austral-Asia and 12th Best in the World. She is also a Secretariat member of the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Association.
  • Rowan Dean is Executive Creative Director for Euro RSCG, a global integrated marketing communications agency. He is an advertising media specialist who also runs his own company Rowan Dean Advertising. As a junior copywriter in London he launched Fosters Lager (and Paul Hogan) onto the British public in the most successful UK alcohol launch of the 80s. He is a regular social media commentator with his own blog, and is a frequent guest panelist on The Gruen Transfer, the ABC TV panel show about “advertising, how it works and how it works on us.”

UTC Hydrogen Fuel Cell Sets Performance Record on Oakland AC Transit Hybrid Electric Bus


Photo Credit: UTC Power

A UTC Power PureMotion 120 System hydrogen fuel cell in an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit) hybrid electric bus has set a performance record by running more than 10,000 hours on its original cell stack, the Hartford, Ct.-based manufacturer announced recently.

More than 50% efficient, around double that of diesel-powered buses, the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is powered by hydrogen that isn’t produced from natural gas. As a result, AC Transit’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered hybrid electric buses emit nothing but water vapor. They produce zero greenhouse gas emissions and no particulates.

“The fuel cell bus operates on hydrogen fuel and produces nothing but water vapor – there are absolutely no tailpipe emissions,” UTC Power’s manager of transportation programs Dana Kaplinksi told CleanTechnica. “Conventional diesel, diesel hybrid, and CNG powered buses all produce CO2, CO, and NOX. Diesel powered buses also produce particulate emissions.”

Durability is one of the key questions that fuel cell developers and manufacturers need to address if the technology is to gain widespread adoption in the transportation sector.

“This is the type of result we and our industry are looking for as we make steady progress toward proving the commercial viability of fuel cell buses for public transit,” Jaimie Levin, AC Transit’s director of alternative fuels policy and hydrogen fuel cell program manager, stated in a press release.

“We’re looking forward to applying the success of UTC Power’s newest fuel cell systems in our new fleet of 12 next-generation buses, as they enter passenger service over the next six months.”

AC Transit has rolled out two UTC Power PureMotion 120 hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses, one in 2006 and another in 2007. UTC Power delivered another 16 to transit agencies from August through December 2010.

All told, UTC’s PureMotion Model 120 PEM fuel cell has accumulated more than 650,000 miles and 62,000 hours of operation in regular transit bus service. “Based on the field data we collect, our laboratory testing, modeling and analysis we believe the majority of the fleet will operate for at least 10,000 hours,” Kaplinksi told CleanTechnica.

A longer fuel cell life span reduces the cost to transit system operators. “The life-cycle cost of the fuel cell engine is important in the transit bus market because a typical bus will operate for 12 years,” Kaplinksi explained. “We recognize the cost to purchase, operate and overhaul the fuel cell is important to the end customer and we are actively developing new designs and improved manufacturing processes for fuel cells.”

The cost of fuel cells also remains relatively high as they are still only manufactured in small quantities. That should change with significant cost reduction realized with “even modest volume production because the fuel cell stack is made up of many repeat parts,” Kaplinksi pointed out.

Another factor is the cost of manufacturing fuel cell-powered hybrid electric vehicles. “It’s not only the cost of the fuel cell but the entire bus that is important,” Kaplinksi explained.

“Compared to a diesel bus, fuel cell buses have a different fuel storage system to carry hydrogen, different cooling systems for the fuel cell and batteries, and an all electric drive system to power the wheels. Bus manufacturers have to build a unique vehicle, that typically cannot be produced using their main production line, which also contributes to their high cost.”

All that said, the cost of fuel cell hybrid electric buses has come down in the last five years as manufacturers have been using some of the same electrical components as diesel hybrid buses, Kaplinksi said, adding that UTC Power continues to reduce fuel cell prices through improved design and manufacturing processes.

And there are advantages to using fuel cell hybrid electric buses in addition to zero emissions. They perform well across varying power demand conditions typical for urban buses and “can be started from a cold state very quickly,” according to Kaplinksi.

Fuel cell hybrid electric buses also have a high power density, “which is important because the fuel cell has to fit in the vehicle and not add a lot of weight, which would reduce vehicle performance.”

Finally, PEM fuel cells with electric drive trains are more than 50% efficient in terms of energy to power conversion, “which results in better fuel economy as compared to a diesel engine on an equivalent energy basis,” Kaplinksi explained.

Source: Clean Technica (