Hong Kong, already meeting requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will continue to fight against global warming, Secretary for Environment, Transport & Works Sarah Liao said on Wednesday.
Speaking in the Legislative Council, Liao said Hong Kong has far smaller per-capita emissions than most developed countries, and it will spare no efforts to reduce emissions to help mitigate global warming.
In 2000, the emission per capita in Hong Kong was 5.9 tones, comparable to the global average of four to five tones, and much lower than the level of such developed economies as the US at 24.9 tones, said Liao.
She said carbon dioxide emitted from power plants accounts for about 60 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Hong Kong. Since 1996, the government has allowed only the construction of natural gas-fired power units, which emit 50 percent less carbon dioxide than coal-fired ones.
Coal-fired units generate half of Hong Kong's electricity, but this will gradually fall as natural-gas fired units contribute more power. Meanwhile, the administration has encouraged power companies to boost the efficiency of the coal-fired units to reduce their gas emissions.
Air-conditioning units account for 30 percent of Hong Kong's overall power consumption. The government has stepped up promotion of water-cooled air conditioning which saves 20-30 percent of energy, said Liao.
She pointed out that Hong Kong's population is estimated to swell to 7.45 million in 2010, up from just 5.7 million in 1990.
With the increase in economic activities, she said, "it will be very difficult for us to reduce our total greenhouse gas emission further from the present low level."
"We will, however, continue to assess the scope of emission reduction of various sectors and make our best efforts to control emissions through cost-effective measures," said Liao.
(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2003)