The Hon. Edward Yau, JP's briefing session at BEC

Business Environmental Council (BEC) and its core initiative, Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF), were honoured to have invited the Honourable Edward Yau, the Secretary for the Environment, to meet our members on 8 October 2010. Over 60 business leaders attended this briefing session, and had dynamic discussion with the policymakers.

Mr Tony Tyler, Chair of the Executive Committee, welcomed the Secretary for the Environment, whom brought a more aggressive carbon emission reduction targets than the Secretary promised in another occasion earlier this year.

Hon. Edward Yau was delighted to facilitate the engagement process with business leaders. He believed that building a low-carbon economy was consistent with HK’s position as a leading vibrant and modern financial centre.

Having a series of dynamic exchange that afternoon, here are some highlights:
Mr Chris Chan, Chairman of Membership Committee, inquired about the impact on tariffs structure with the capital investment on the proposed offshore wind farm. The proposed wind power facility costing HK$8-10 billion would generate electricity of up to 560 million kwh. The facility will meet 1-2% of total demand for electricity by 2020. The Government replied that the impact on the tariffs would be minimal as the portion of wind energy is not substantial.

Dr. Glenn Frommer, Sustainability Development Manager, MTR, raised the question on what the Government expected from the financial sector. The Government first recognized the efforts demonstrated by the major banks. It would encourage market-driven activities rather than instructing the market.

Participants prompted for examples of the existing incentives and regulations to promote energy efficiency. The Government suggested that it has made the building energy efficiency code mandatory, while providing HK$450 million Environmental and Conservation Fund as financial subsidy, among which HK$180 million has been granted.

Prof. John Chai, Chairman of BEC, closed the briefing session by highlighting the upcoming BEC engagement exercise to the audience. John encouraged the members to attend the focus groups sessions that will be held on 25–26 October, and/or provide written response to raise their concerns and interests to make a comprehensive, fair and robust response to the government.