Letter to the Editor of South China Morning Post - Response to a reader's letter on Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050

I refer to the article by Kevin Li on 4 March 2022 titled “Hong Kong budget for climate change measures a good first step, but much more is needed”.

To achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, the Government has announced the Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 (the Plan), outlining four major decarbonisation strategies and measures, namely net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport and waste reduction, as well as a mid-term target to reduce Hong Kong’s carbon emissions by 50% before 2035 as compared to the 2005 level.

On financial commitment to combat climate change, the Government has allocated over $47 billion over the past decade to implement various energy saving and renewable energy measures, promote electric vehicles and vessels, and introduce innovative waste-to-energy and waste-to-resources facilities. As to the future, the Government has committed in the Plan to allocate about $240 billion in the next 15 to 20 years to implement a wide range of mitigation and adaptation measures to combat climate change.

The 2022-23 Budget has already reserved more than $10 billion to take forward measures on various fronts to combat climate change, including injecting an additional funding of $200 million into the Green Tech Fund to further promote decarbonisation and enhance environmental protection, as well as injecting an additional sum of $1.5 billion into the EV-charging at Home Subsidy Scheme to support the installation of EV charging‑enabling infrastructure in existing buildings. On climate adaptation, the Government will also seek funding approval of about $8.4 billion this year for enhancing the flood control capability in various districts.

Regarding floating solar energy generation systems in reservoirs, the Government has already devoted resources to conduct pilot schemes.  The Government is planning to install floating solar energy generation systems of larger scale with a generating capacity of 5-10 MW each at various reservoirs, and has embarked on a study on installing a large-scale system with a generating capacity of over 100 MW at Plover Cove Reservoir. Same for other mitigation and adaptation measures to combat climate change, the relevant government departments will work on the details and expenditure of individual projects in accordance with the established procedures.

Apart from the Government, various private enterprises such as the two power companies are also expected to invest heavily in decarbonisation.  They have been preparing financial resources in phasing down their coal-fired generating units with gas-fired ones and other potential zero-carbon sources, and provided financial incentives to encourage the private sector to develop renewable energy at their premises, notably through the Feed-in Tariff Scheme which has received an enthusiastic response with more than 17 000 applications approved since its introduction in late 2018.

The Government will keep reviewing the strategies and resources allocated to combat climate change to move with the times.  

Daniel Tang, Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Cross-Boundary & International), Environmental Protection Department