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Reducing consumption of energy is a task for all

Hong Kong is not known for being a leader when it comes to protecting the environment. Despite growing public awareness, the city is still notorious for being wasteful. From energy consumption to waste disposal, there is much room for improvement. It is therefore good to learn that a new energy-saving target for the next decade is in the pipeline. In an interview with this newspaper, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing revealed that the government would go beyond the existing plan for a 25 per cent reduction in energy use by 2030. The details will be unveiled within the next few months, along with a basket of measures to help reduce electricity consumption across different sectors.

It can be argued that cutting energy use by a quarter is already a tall order. But critics claimed that the target was not as stringent as it seemed, because it allowed for energy growth amid an expanding economy. It is unclear why the government would challenge itself with an even more ambitious target when the old one, based on energy use in 2005, still has 15 years to go. It may be that the previous administration erred on the side of caution and adopted a relatively mild target.

If there is room for a steeper cut, there is no reason why we should not go further. The benefits are enormous. The saving is not only rewarded with cheaper utility bills; it also helps protect the environment by using fewer resources and reducing carbon emissions. Currently, buildings account for 90 per cent of total electricity consumption in Hong Kong and contribute more than 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, a campaign to keep indoor air-conditioning at optimal levels was supported by 130 shopping malls, some 1,000 offices, 142 housing estates and 80 residential blocks, representing a 45 per cent jump in participation rate. Last month, the chief executive’s policy address went further, imposing a 5 per cent cut in electricity consumption for government buildings in the next five years. Credit goes to the government for taking the lead. Hopefully, more commercial and residential premises will follow.

Inevitably, our energy consumption will rise as the economy grows. The demand is further fuelled by expanding housing programmes and infrastructure projects. That makes conservation even more important. To achieve sustainable living and development, concerted efforts are needed.
Source URL (modified on Feb 27th 2015, 12:57am):

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