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Time to set energy policy with goals


Time to set energy policy with goals

From cars to cellphones, pharmaceuticals to plastics, and air conditioning to water heating, energy is part of people’s lives more than ever before. Energy is vital for the effective functioning of our modern society and is a key driver for human development and economic prosperity (SEHK: 0803announcementsnews) . However, the poor local air quality and global climate changes we have been witnessing are attributed to an explosive increase in global energy consumption.

We take pride in Hong Kong being Asia’s “world city” and an international financial centre, and being ranked by the Heritage Foundation as the world’s freest economy for 18 consecutive years. This is underpinned by having not only good governance, built on core values such as the rule of law, transparency, freedom, equality and openness, but also continued economic growth.

For a metropolitan city and a service-oriented economy like Hong Kong’s, energy is of paramount importance to economic activities therein. But, somehow, Hong Kong has in place only a few lines on its energy policy objectives, displayed on the Environment Bureau’s website, and various measures focusing on energy conservation and efficiency. We do not have a structured, coherent and comprehensive energy policy to support our pursuit of an economy for sustainable development.

The growing complexity and strategic importance of energy policy demands a “whole of government” approach. The incoming administration should consider empowering the Environment Bureau (best to call it the Energy and Environment Bureau) to formulate and co-ordinate an energy policy with objectives, strategies and action plans to meet the needs and aspirations of our community and Hong Kong’s commitments as a responsible global citizen.

The bureau should study a wide range of energy issues, which include energy conservation and efficiency, and also promote a competitive energy market, diversify energy supplies; invest in energy research and development; and step up international co-operation.

Dr C.W.Tso, adjunct professor, City University (former head of HK Electric power)

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