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December 21st, 2011:

Climate Change Business Forum

Opinions about the agreement reached during COP 17, the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, are divided. Against the backdrop of the worst-case scenario, the Durban negotiations may cautiously be hailed a success. However, measured against the action required to keep global temperatures within a rise of 2 degrees Celsius, the agreement reached in Durban fell short of the mark.

So what happened? Most notably, rich and poor countries alike agreed to negotiate a climate treaty by 2015, to come into effect by 2020. Key players, including India, Brazil and China , agreed to this new deal  on the terms that it not be ‘legally binding’ but rather “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with ‘legal force‘.” In addition, the Kyoto Protocol was spared, thanks to the EU who has agreed to a second commitment period  until either 2017 or 2020.

Other major outcomes include the agreement on the format and governing principles of the Green Climate Fund and inclusion of carbon capture and storage projects within the Clean Development Mechanism.

For detailed analysis on COP 17 and the final agreement check out the World Resources Institute’s summary of events. For a lively eye-witness account of events as they unfolded in Durban visit the CCBF blog.

Pundits will wrangle over the implications of the deal reached in Durban  for many weeks and months to come. But one thing is clear: in the absence of immediate global action on climate change it’s more important now than ever that national and local governments, companies and individuals lead the way.  CCBF Chair Thomas Ho echoed this sentiment in a recent SCMP op ed.

To learn about what actions local businesses, like Swire Pacific and CLP, are taking to drive forward a low-carbon economy visit the CCBF eventspage and click on presentations given at our recent event: “Countdown to COP 17: What’s next for the climate change agenda?”

Hong Kong and Guangdong Join Forces to Combat Climate Change

Regional cooperation may hold the key to Hong Kong’s low-carbon future, and open new doors for business. In late August, the Hong Kong Government announced the establishment of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Liaison Group on Combating Climate Change under the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference. Jointly led by the Hong Kong Environment Bureau and the Development and Reform Commission of Guangdong Province, the Liaison Group will focus on reducing GHG emissions and development of a low-carbon economy. They plan to do this through promotion and support of:

  • Information sharing and cooperation in scientific research
  • Technology innovation and development
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  • Renewable energy
  • Electric cars
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Collaborative education programs

The group will regularly update and report to the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference.

This focused and collaborative effort on climate change has the potential to drive forward strategic thinking and local action on low-carbon policies and investments. It could provide a well needed boost to Hong Kong’s green economy.

CCBF’s Government Liaison committee is encouraged by this development and looks forward to working with the Environment Bureau as they evolve their strategy.

Incinerator will add to pollution 21/12/2011

South China Morning Post – 21 Dec. 2011

As visitors from Australia to Hong Kong, staying on lovely Cheung Chau island, we were dismayed to hear of the proposed Shek Kwu Chau mega-incinerator on reclaimed land among these beautiful and popular islands.

This is a highly inappropriate place for an incinerator.

It would be an ugly fit amongst these lovely islands, and it would greatly add to the notorious air pollution in the city.

This is our third visit to Hong Kong, which we like very much, but we sometimes suffer from asthma here due to the air pollution.

We are concerned that the proposed incinerator will accentuate respiratory problems for residents and tourists, and make the city a less appealing destination.

Hong Kong is forward looking in many ways.

Therefore, we find it surprising that sustainable ways of dealing with waste do not have precedence over an old-fashioned, expensive and polluting incinerator.

Many countries have adopted the three principles of reducing, reusing and recycling materials, such as paper, metals, plastic, timber, used cooking oil and lubricants, and also composting food and green waste and capturing methane for fuel.

This is a modern, advanced society that should be adopting sustainable ways of dealing with waste.

Nina and Brian Earl, Melbourne, Australia