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Greens Urge Tougher Caps On Emissions

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Thursday August 17 2006

Environmentalists have called on the government to impose a tighter emissions cap on Hongkong Electric after dismissing last year’s cap on CLP Power as toothless.

Greenpeace and Clear the Air also urged the government to release its guidelines on emissions reduction to honour the 2010 Pearl River Delta reduction goals agreed with Guangdong.

The calls come as the Environmental Protection Department is poised to impose an emissions cap on Hongkong Electric’s eight coal-fired generation units on Lamma Island when the licence for the units comes up for renewal next month.

Environmentalists expect Hongkong Electric will be able to satisfy the as yet undecided cap, as its new, gas-fired, 335-megawatt generation units are due to come into operation soon, thereby minimising reliance on coal, which is more polluting. The company said that last year it emitted 31,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

A 54,000-tonne annual cap regulating each of three types of pollutants, including SO2, over a two-year period was imposed on CLP Power’s Castle Peak coal-fired generators in July last year. But environmentalists pointed out that the allowance was higher than the actual emissions of SO2 in 2003 and 2004 – the worst years on record.

The department yesterday said CLP’s cap for the second of the two years would be lowered to 44,000 tonnes. CLP Power said its SO2 emissions from July last year until March were about 34,000 tonnes.

The department has not said what levels the plants have to achieve by 2010, but Greenpeace campaigner Gloria Chang Wan-ki said the public had a right to know.

Annelise Connell, chairwoman of the Clear the Air, said penalties for breaching caps should increase.

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