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December, 2007:

CLP’s Modest Promise Of Renewal

The Standard

In response to concerns about global warming, China Light & Power pledged last week to reduce its “carbon intensity” by 75 percent by 2050, a pledge that sounds impressive, and probably is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In response to concerns about global warming, China Light & Power pledged last week to reduce its “carbon intensity” by 75 percent by 2050, a pledge that sounds impressive, and probably is.

However, this isn’t the same as reducing carbon emissions by 75 percent, but rather in the carbon emitted per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

CLP hasn’t therefore actually pledged to improve the existing situation, merely to make the future better than it otherwise might be.

Furthermore, the reduction will be achieved by means that aren’t always seen to be environmentally friendly, including nuclear and large hydroelectric power generation.

The company said “more than 5 percent” – which means, one supposes, only about 5 percent – of energy production will come from “other renewable energy” sources.

Finally, the 40-years-plus maturity of the pledge is a long time, and CLP’s short-term milestones are modest, from reducing the 0.84 kilograms of carbon per KWh of electricity generated to 0.8kg by 2010, and to 0.7kg by 2020. The bulk of reductions are due in the final stages of the pledge, with a reduction in emissions to 0.45kg by 2035 and 0.2kg come 2050.

A lot can happen in four decades. Forty-two years ago, the Vietnam War was escalating, the Cultural Revolution had just been launched, and half of Europe was firmly and seemingly permanently behind the Iron Curtain. Threats to the future of humanity were more typically seen to be in nuclear war or unlimited population growth.

Although making pledges for four decades into the future is pretty safe – one has lots of time to modify them in light of changing conditions – a 75 percent reduction means that if CLP were to quadruple its power generation capacity, it would have to do so without increasing carbon emissions one iota.

This means either all new capacity will be carbon free or there will be reductions in its generating operations.

While we might wish the world will use less energy, it won’t happen.

For China and India to improve their standard of living to even a fraction of that enjoyed by the people of the developed world, energy consumption will increase considerably.

The only way to maintain stable energy use is for the developed world to reduce its energy consumption, and Americans aren’t going to give up their cars so the Chinese middle class can have theirs.

CLP is in the power-generation business and, so long as a company’s conduct is legal, it is supposed to grow that business.

One might suppose CLP has made its particular pledge, and intends to keep it, not out of altruism, but rather calculated self-interest. Perhaps it is seeking a competitive advantage in getting a jump on changes that will sooner or later be legislated for anyway, but its pledge is no less laudable for that.

Given the world, and especially Asia, will need more power plants it is best that as many as possible are built by a company committed to a philosophy of carbon reduction and explicit targets and has, most notably, said that it won’t build any new coal-fired plants in developed countries, rather than by one which has made no such commitments.

Coal-fired power plants are China’s cheapest option for power generation, at least until pollution and other external effects can be costed in, so the best way to reduce China’s emissions is for non- coal alternatives to have a strong and committed corporate champion.

Little if any of this, however, directly affects Hong Kong. Our immediate problem is not so much global warming, however serious it may be, but pollution, a substantial amount of which comes from local coal-fired power plants. Replacing these with a cleaner alternative would help reduce carbon emissions, carbon intensity and pollution.

CLP is a multinational with major operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It is right that it looks at its carbon footprint on a global basis. However, Hong Kong is CLP’s home, and additional commitments to reduce its contribution to our hazy skies and poor air quality would be welcome too.

CLP Coal in Hong Kong

Patsy Moy and Nishika Patel

Saturday, December 08, 2007: HK Standard

China Light and Power has pledged not to build any more coal plants in Hong Kong while setting a global target to cut its carbon intensity – the amount of carbon emitted per unit of energy used.

CLP, the producer of electricity in six Asian economies, will set a group- wide target of reduction at 75 percent by 2050 to benefit from global emissions trading.

The company has also fixed interim targets for emission cuts for 2010, 2020 and 2035.

As part of its strategy, CLP will boost investments in renewable energy, including an 82.4-megawatt wind farm in India.

The Environmental Protection Department welcomed CLP’s green policies.

But the green initiatives have failed to please local environmentalists who accused the Hong Kong company of “playing with figures and jargon.”

They said the benefits to be brought by the company’s green policies remain uncertain.

Friends of the Earth environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu hon-keung criticized the Hong Kong-based company for declining to specify the amount of carbon to be reduced in the city.

“It doesn’t mean the company should only protect Hong Kong’s environment at the expense of other places. But as a Hong Kong-based company, it should specify its pledge for Hong Kong people,” Chu said.

Frances Yeung Hoi-shan, Green Peace’s climate and energy campaigner, also accused CLP of not spelling out its target reduction rate for specific places except Australia.

CLP has a subsidiary in Australia which has set a standard to cap emissions, according to Yeung.

She also explained that the carbon intensity reduction did not amount to an actual cut in carbon emissions if the company continued to increase its energy production.

“They are playing with figures to give the public an impression that they are a green company,” she claimed, adding that power plants are Hong Kong’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, accounting for about 70 percent of total CO2 emissions in the city.

“The government only restricts power plants’ air pollutants at the moment but to combat climate change, it should also regulate their CO2 emissions.

“If power plants exceed the caps, they should be penalized financially,” she said.

CLP on Friday said a major initiative for Hong Kong is to bring in a liquefied natural gas terminal to increase natural gas in fuel mix of up to 50 percent for power generation against the current 30 percent.

Developing an offshore wind farm in Hong Kong is a possibility that the company will also look into.

CLP now operates one coal-fired power plant in Hong Kong at the Castle Peak power station.

The company said it is committed to not building new coal-fired power stations in Hong Kong or in developed countries.

It has plans for a transition from conventional coal to more climate-friendly fuels or technologies.

In developing countries where the company has conventional coal-fired generation plants, it will ensure they can be fitted with carbon capture and storage equipment to tackle emissions.

CLP Set To Clear The Air Significantly By 2050

Regina Leung – SCMP
5:00pm, Dec 07, 2007

The CLP group (SEHK: 0002) set a voluntary target to cut its carbon emissions per unit of power output by 75 per cent by 2050, says Andrew Brandler, Chief Executive Officer of CLP on Friday.

“The plan is part of our pledge to fight global warming and reduce the effect of climate change. It is going to save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions between now and 2050,” Mr Brandler said.

As an interim measure, there will be a 5 per cent cut over the coming three years.

“We would achieve our target by increasing non-carbon emitting power generation capacity to 20 per cent of the total by 2020, through greater use of nuclear, hydro-power and renewable energy,” Mr Brandler explained.

He also revealed CLP would not build any more conventional coal-fired power stations in Hong Kong and other developed countries, to reduce the worse effect to the environment.

At the moment, CLP runs two major power stations in the New Territories – one in Castle Peak and the other one is in Black Point, both are in Tuen Mun.

Some Greenpeace activists hang a banner that reads “Climate change starts here” from a silo at CLP Power’s Castle Peak plant in Tuen Mun on Thursday while the UN Climate Change Conference was holding on the Indonesian island of Bali, urging the government to regulate its carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate Change Starts Here

Greenpeace climbers captivate power plant urging government to regulate its CO2 emissions

Hong Kong SAR, China — While the UN Climate Conference in Bali is thrashing out solution to global warming, two Greenpeace vessels gear towards the Castle Peak Power Plant, allowing the climbers to scale to a 30M-tall ash silos and suspend a 15m x 15m banner reading “Climate Change Starts Here” to protest against the government shirking its responsibility to restrain greenhouse gas emission from power plants.

Four Greenpeace climbers captivated today the largest local perpetrator of climate change, CLP Castle Peak Power Plant, while the UN Climate Conference in Bali is thrashing out solutions to global warming. The climbers scaled the fly ash silos and dropped a massive banner to urge the government to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as a move to tackle climate change.

Frances Yeung, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, says the action alerts the public to indifference of the government to damages the power plants have done to the climate. “While other countries and metropolitans have already taken actions, Hong Kong government has made no immediate response to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants. Donald Tsang’s boast of his concern to global warming is far from the truth,” says she.

Power plants are the biggest local source of greenhouse gas emissions, which account for about 70% of carbon dioxide emissions (the major warming gases) in Hong Kong. Among them CLP is the biggest polluter, responsible for half of the release.

At present, the Government does not regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas emissions in Hong Kong have been increasing rapidly over the decade. Between 1990 and 2005, the emissions have increased 14%.

The government is now negotiating the new Scheme of Control Agreement (SOC) with the two local power companies which will last for 10 years. Greenpeace believes that global warming is too serious for the government to allow power plants to continue damaging the climate. The government must limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and their profits must be deducted if they exceed the emission caps.