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CLP Total Carbon Emissions

13th March 2008 – SCMP

I refer to the article (“Power firm plans major cut in carbon emissions”, March 10).

It was reported that CLP Holdings (SEHK: 0002) planned “to eliminate 75 per cent of carbon emissions by 2050 in its drive to reduce global warming”. However, it should be made clear that CLP is only committing itself to a carbon intensity target, which is a not real emissions cut. CLP announced a climate strategy last December, saying that it would reduce the groups’ average carbon intensity by 75 per cent by 2050. Carbon intensity means the average amount of CO{-2} emitted for output of each kilowatt-hour of electricity. In other words, even though CLP reduces carbon intensity, its total CO{-2} emissions can still go up if it generates more and more power. A carbon intensity target is different from a CO{-2} reduction target.

In fact, CLP’s intention to continue expanding its coal-related business means its total carbon emissions will increase. The second phase of CLP’s Vung Ang coal-fired plant (installed capacity, 1,200MW) in Vietnam has been confirmed. The second phase of Fangchenggang , with 3,600MW in Guangxi region on the mainland is under negotiation. Scientists tell us that in 50 years, we have to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent from the 1990 level. We must not increase greenhouse gases.

TRUenergy, CLP’s subsidiary in Australia – announcing its climate strategy – not only promised to reduce carbon intensity in the short term but also to reduce its total CO{-2} emissions in the long run (a decrease of 35 per cent from 1990 levels). CLP should set up a CO{-2} emissions target for the group as a whole which is similar to the one set by its subsidiary, in order to show its real commitment to the climate.

The company’s plan to invest in large hydro and nuclear projects to meet its carbon intensity target should not be seen as a solution. Although these two fuels do not emit CO{-2}, their threats to the environment are long-term. Therefore, the company should shift its investment to renewable energy like solar and wind energy.

Frances Yeung, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace

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