Cheung Chi-fai – SCMP – Updated on Oct 16, 2008
Funding carbon audits in buildings and a possible ban on incandescent light bulbs were among measures heralded by the chief executive to combat climate change and develop a low-carbon economy.
“We will enhance energy efficiency, use clean fuels, rely less on fossil fuel, and promote a low-carbon economy – an economy based on low energy consumption and low pollution,” Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said.
Up to HK$450 million will be reserved under the Environment and Conservation Fund to partially subsidise building owners to conduct energy and carbon audits for their public space and carry out related improvement works. The subsidy details would be later worked out by the fund.
The government will also consider following overseas practice in banning incandescent light bulbs and study the feasibility of controlling outdoor light pollution by law. The mandatory energy labelling scheme for electrical appliances will also be extended to cover washing machines and dehumidifiers.
District cooling will be adopted for the Kai Tak development that will cost HK$1.4 billion to build but bring about an annual energy saving of 85 million kilowatt-hours and a reduction of 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
Friends of the Earth environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung welcomed the measures but questioned where they would lead. “The lack of a timetable and energy saving targets means the government is not yet committed,” he said.
Greenpeace campaign manager Edward Chan Yue-fai said the government should ban incandescent bulbs immediately.
Meanwhile, WWF Hong Kong welcomed an earlier announced move to ban commercial fishing in marine parks. The green group’s director of conservation, Andy Cornish, described the ban as a “historic event” for marine conservation. But the group said more substantial gains could be achieved by designating the Soko Islands as marine parks.