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Council calls for HK climate change
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A Hong Kong non-governmental delegation to United Nations Climate Change Conference 2007 in Bali has called for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to make a commitment in line with other developed countries to reduce carbon emissions.

The delegation is led by the Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development.

Vice chairman of the council Plato Yip said that most of the delegations from other countries agreed that developed economies should reduce carbon emissions by between 25 and 40 percent by 2020, and that includes Hong Kong. That analysis, he said, was based on a 1990's carbon dioxide emission level of about 39,000,000 tons.

Carbon emission reduction is the main focus of the UNCCC, and 192 countries discussed measures to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius each year.

Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development suggested that a low carbon development fund should be set up to invest in emission reduction projects, mainly in the Pearl River Delta Region. That includes the development of renewable energy.

In addition to reducing air pollution, the fund may also strengthen Hong Kong's international position in assisting the Chinese mainland's negotiation on climate change, said Albert Lai, delegation leader and chairman of the council.

He suggested the government spend HK$500 million in 2008, and increase that to HK$4 billion in 2020 to reduce carbon emissions in Hong Kong.

Angus Wong, environmental affairs officer for Friends of the Earth, said that the low-carbon development fund is a considerable step. However, he believes the government should give the public a set timetable on the development.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang said in his policy address that Hong Kong sought to achieve a reduction in energy use by at least 25 percent by 2030, in response to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leader's Declaration on Climate Change in September.

Wong didn't think that was enough, saying: "He did not state a clear target and timeline on this issue."

Meanwhile, Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development also suggested civil education on environmental protection be increased.

Citizens' attitudes matter a lot in reducing carbon emissions, councilor Lawrence Chau said.

Wong said that the public has become more conscious of emissions reduction, but its importance has to be continually stressed so it will be incorporated into daily life.

Hong Kong needs to take a moral high ground in the fight against carbon emissions in order to protect the environment, Lai said.

(China Daily HK Edition December 13, 2007)

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