Leaders and experts gather on World Earth Day to shape a low carbon Hong Kong

Stronger commitments, clear targets needed to reduce carbon footprint

(22 April 2010, Hong Kong) Marking World Earth Day, over 120 business leaders and industry experts gathered today at a forum hosted by the Business Environment Council (BEC) to exchange ideas on the challenges and opportunities that would shape Hong Kong's transition into a low carbon city.

Entitled “Energy Efficiency Forum for a Low Carbon Hong Kong”, the conference explored practical solutions effective in reducing energy consumption and the overall carbon footprint for the city's major infrastructure projects, transportation system, as well as buildings and offices.

Professor John Chai, BEC’s chairman, said “Driving a low carbon economy requires a clear commitment, from supporting research on low carbon solutions to investments on mega projects, infrastructure, sustainable transport, green buildings and offices. Immense potential for energy efficient development and market opportunities can be created by involvement from all sectors and at all levels.”

In his keynote speech, Mr Tony Tyler, Chairman of Executive Committee, Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF) and Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, called on the community to come together and agree on carbon reduction targets, setting the stage for Hong Kong to emerge as a regional model of low-carbon living. ''Cities which are environmentally resilient, and energy efficient, will be economically more secure. So we need a smart goal – a stretch target with smart policies and incentives to get us there. The key will be a well-coordinated effort between government, business and civil society, endowed with both financial and political capital. Business -at least those of us in CCBF - is ready, willing and able: we would welcome a carbon target and want to be part of the process of designing the most efficient way to achieve it.'' he said.

Key findings of an upcoming study “Every Building a Powerhouse” commissioned by CCBF were previewed. Led by Dr Josie Close from the City University of Hong Kong, the study has analyzed 29 energy conservation, generation and storage technologies for their technological and commercial viability. According to the analysis, carbon emissions from buildings could be reduced by at least 50 percent with proper supportive programmes and technologies such as Tri-generation, LED lighting, Micro-hydro, SMART Glass, Fuel Cells and Bio Fuels.

Dr Close said, “Key to achieving a more substantial carbon reduction result will be reducing the carbon footprint of our 40 million m2 of existing buildings, which consume 89 percent of Hong Kong’s energy. The challenge, simply put, is retrofitting. Smart retrofits could create immense value for Hong Kong. Practically, they could help embark on a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly and energy-secure future.”

To conclude the Forum, Dr Andrew Thomson said, “We hope the Forum today can contribute to building a low carbon Hong Kong. There is an urgent need to transition to a low carbon economy to address the global challenges of climate change and achieve sustainability. We are now at the start of the low carbon revolution and those that have started on their low carbon journey already are seeing benefits such as new markets and customers, improved triple bottom line - economic, social and environmental performance, and reduced costs and risks.”

The Energy Efficiency Forum for a Low Carbon Hong Kong is part of Business Environment Council's EnviroSeries Conferences, a programme designed for a broad range of stakeholders to address and discuss key environmental agenda critical to the sustainable development in Hong Kong and mainland China. This year's EnvironSeries focuses on energy efficiency and green supply chain. The second conference in the 2010 series "Green Supply Chain Management: Risks, Rewards and Roadmap" will be hosted on 2 June 2010.