Grannie Green Revivial

For post before Aug 09, please read it with Traditional Chi Big 5 Code

跋 - 為環保打拼四十年

花了幾個月,終於把全書140章《為環保打拼四十年》一書全數貼出來。這樣,陳偉群博士的遺作就不用塵封在檔案室的某個角落了。

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August 31, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | 1 Comment

Chp 140, Climate Change – Forty years champion for the environment

Climate Change

CA has the longest history of being involved with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (dating back to 1992 Rio), Conference of the Partners, COP2 (Geneva), COP3 (Kyoto), COP6 (Hague) and WSSD (Jo’burg).

In advocacy, CA submitted a paper to the Environmental Panel, Legislative Council in May 2007, summarizing CA’s view and recommendations on Hong Kong’s strategy to cope with climate change.

CA reckons that Hong Kong does not need to do anything if we simply follow the Kyoto Protocol (reduce GHG emissions by an average of 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012). But Hong Kong should not shun its responsibility as a cosmopolitan city which consumed huge amounts of resources and energy from over the world to keep our lives going as well as economy growing. Indeed, Hong Kong should press ahead the following:

Setting local GHG emissions target

In fact, we have no reason to feel complacent: both our energy consumption and GHG emissions have been on the rise since 2000. Hong Kong should shoulder its responsibility to keep GHG emission to a minimum and adopt a “Kyoto-plus” policy. Since the Hong Kong SAR Administration and the Guangdong Provincial Government agreed to reduce four major pollutants by 2010, using 1997 as the base year, 1997 could also be used as the base year for GHG emissions reduction.

Implement a CO2 Emission Trading Scheme

The latest IPCC report pointed out that “integrating air pollution abatement and climate change mitigation policies offers potentially large cost reductions compared to treating those policies in isolation.” Implementation of measures to reduce Green House Gas emissions will also reduce that of other air pollutants such as SO2, NOx and RSP, but not the other way round. As such, CA suggested including CO2 emission in the Emission Trading Pilot Scheme for Thermal Power Plants in the Pearl River Delta Region.

It should be note that SO2, though an air pollutant, contributes to a net cooling effect in the form of aerosol. Of course it is important to cut down SO2 emission in the region, but if there is no provision to cap CO2 at the same time, the problem of local warming will only exacerbate, as SO2 promote cloud formation which reflects heat, and because of its comparatively short lifetimes, the concentration in the atmosphere decreases much faster than that of CO2.

Proactive Compensation Scheme-Zero Damage to the Environment

Avoidance of habitat damage and environmental degradation should be the guiding principle when planning infrastructure. But when it is not feasible, damage to the environment should be kept to minimum, preferably zero. Although the present Environmental Impact Assessment process includes evaluation of gaseous emission, it pertains more to air quality impact than GHG emissions. As large scale transport infrastructure such as highways and the logistic park will general large amount of GHG, we suggest that a proactive compensation scheme such as tree planting should be implemented to offset the emissions.

Auditing Offset Programs

As “carbon offset” is becoming a lucrative business in many places, it is a matter of time when it will reach Hong Kong. We suggest that all offset programs must be duly audited by an independent and authorized agent.

Response Strategy

Besides developing mitigation policies to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, the Administration should also formulate a response strategy to prevent or reduce the degree of the adverse effect of climate change.

Disaster Management

It is expected that climate change and global warming will lead to more unstable and even chaotic climate. The rising sea level, higher possibility of sea surge, flooding and the potential of the visit of super-typhoon might increase the risk of natural disasters.

Preparation and coordination of related departments with the government during the disaster moment ought to be improved to cope with the warming world.

Higher Energy Demand and Heat Stress

Warmer temperatures and higher humidity would result in greater use of air-conditioning and thus higher energy demand. An increase of the ambient temperature by 1oC would the electricity consumption by 9.02%, 3.13% and 2.64% in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors respectively. Moreover, higher annual temperatures could lead to an increased incidence and severity of warm temperature extremes, leading to increased occurrences of heat stress and discomfort, particularly among the elderly, the sick and those without access to air-conditioning.

Urban planning might take the issue of climate change into consideration. By increasing amount of greenery, lowering urban density, enhancing air ventilation in urban area, and promoting more efficient management of end-use of electricity would help to minimize the demand of energy.

In terms of campaigns, CA has pioneered “dress down campaign” which the government has adopted; and we also advocated a car-free day in September 2007. We did a simple attitude survey in May 2007. There were 588 respondents. 98.3% of the respondents agreed that climate change is a serious environmental problem; 85.7% reckoned that the government has not done enough to tackle climate change; 72.62% said that they would be willing to pay more electricity bill to reduce CO2 emissions and 84.52% would be willing to pay to plant trees in order to offset the CO2 emissions. On 7 July 2007, CA held a low carbon symposium. Private sectors, NGOs and academics were invited to discuss the climate change issues and our strategy to alleviate this world problem in the spirit of shared responsibility. The report of this 777 low carbon symposium was then submitted to the Chief Executive in November 2007. CA urged the CE to take actions including a) to adopt a carbon-neutral policy for all infrastructure development; b) to include CO2 in the emission trading scheme in Pearl River Delta and c) to revitalize all natural river streams and carry out an intensive tree planting programme to alleviate the heat-island effects that we are facing.

CA has a public position of “HK as a low-carbon city”, with “low-carbon lifestyle”. CA itself announced that we would be a carbon-neutral organization (though we haven’t got a system to audit for that)

August 30, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | Leave a comment

Chp 139, Idling engines – Forty years champion for the environment

Idling engines

The Government issued a consultation paper on “A proposal to ban idling vehicles with running engines” in early 2008. It was proposed that if a driver does not switch off the engine of his vehicle when it is idle, he commits a contravention and will be issued with a fixed penalty ticket unless it is exempted. The exempted vehicles include (a) vehicles which stop at the roadside for active boarding or alighting and (b) the first two taxis at a taxi stand and the first two PLBs at a PLB stand; (c) taxis, PLBs or buses at their designated stops or stands either on-street or at termini; (d) vehicles remaining motionless because of traffic conditions; (e) security transit vehicles operated by a security company; (f) vehicles which are required to run their engines for some ancillary purpose other than providing air-conditioning for comfort; (g) vehicles of disciplinary forces and other emergency vehicles while engaged in operational activities, including training activities and (h) vehicles engaged in a parade or any other event authorized by the Transport Department.

Thirty eight transport trade organizations covering taxi, light buses and coaches presented at the Legislative Council‘s Environmental Affairs Panel. They complained the often switch on and off the engine would damage their engines and asked for full exemption from this proposed legislation. CA was one of the two organizations that supported this legislation and in its submission, CA expressed the following:

  1. CA welcomes the long-delayed proposal. The issue of banning idling engine has been discussed in the community for the last 7 years and even with the continuous efforts of NOGs to call upon voluntary actions of vehicle operators, there has been little progress in reducing exhaust emissions from idling engines.
  2. The main problems of emissions of idling vehicles are the health implications to people who are exposed to roadside environment, in particular to those who work long periods by the roadside daily, for example, the newspaper sellers. The special topographical and form of urban environment of Hong Kong aggravate the health impact of idling vehicles. The tower building blocks by the roadside hinder the dispersion of the vehicle exhaust emissions which accumulate to unacceptable concentration levels (i.e., exceeding the air quality objectives). Compounded with high pedestrian flows in the urban areas of Hong Kong, the scale of threat to human health becomes acute.
  3. It has been well researched and documented that exhaust emissions from vehicles are toxic and carcinogenic. Long term exposure to these emissions have a much higher charge of contracting breathing illnesses and even lung and other related cancers. While Government spends billions of dollars on providing medical care to combat these illnesses, CA is of an opinion that prevention is always better than cure. Any possibility to curb vehicle emissions should then be sought.
  4. Idling vehicles with running engines usually support the air-conditioning while the drivers and passengers are waiting in the vehicles and thus provide comfortable in-cabinet cool environments which can be easily enjoyed in the nearby shops, malls and restaurants in Hong Kong. Thus most of the time, it is un-necessary.
  5. As pointed out in the consultation paper, Hong Kong is not the first one seeking measures to ban idling vehicles with running engines; many cities in the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Singapore have already had similar measures. In implementing this measure, these cities allow exemptions to certain types of vehicles in very special circumstances; nonetheless, providing cooling comfort is never an excuse for exemption.
  6. CA agrees to provide exemption to vehicles of disciplinary forces, other emergency vehicles and vehicles which have their engines idling for genuine operational needs. No exemption should be granted to other types of vehicles, in particular to commercial vehicles which simply keep the engines running for air-conditioning. Government should however consider provide more shaded parking spaces. Planting more trees at taxi and PLB stands is certainly a good practice to cool down the temperature in these places in the summer.
  7. CA strongly supports the overall control framework as laid out in paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 of the consultation paper. The exemptions provided in paragraph 6.2 are reasonable and adequate. There should have no residual power of exemption. The ban should be applied throughout the territory in all times, including summer.
  8. CA does not object to providing a grace period of 3 months for help drivers to get used to the new statutory requirement after the enactment of the relevant legislation.
  9. For protecting the health of Hong Kong people, CA earnestly urges the Legislative Council to endorse this legislation as soon as possible.

Whilst we strongly support the early enactment and enforcement of this legislation, we would stress that banning idling vehicles is only one – and quite a small one – of the many efforts that is required to tackle pollution. To have the legislation passed is only one small part towards discharging their duties as government and lawmakers towards a better environment for Hong Kong. We continue to have high expectations of both the government and the legislature in taking drastic but much-needed actions to curb air pollution.

Outside the Legislative Council, the government received 76.8 per cent of the 1349 people polled in a survey agreed to a law requiring idling engines to be tuned off. Although the public’s view is clear but under the very strong protest of the transport trade organizations, the government still has not made a decision on this legislation at the time of writing.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | Leave a comment

Chp 138, Smart Cool – Forty years champion for the environment

“Smart Cool”

One of the hallmarks of the Hong Kong business executive is the ability to don the full jacket and tie in the steamiest summer heat. However, a survey conducted by CA in June 2006 found that more than 80% of the respondents thought Hong Kong should imitate Japan and other East Asia countries to discard the jacket and tie at work; nearly 70% agreed that clothing with sleeves and collars should be considered appropriate at work and for formal meetings. The survey also found that after nearly a year of promotion by the Government of an air-conditioning temperature of 25.5oC, 51.5% of the respondents had such a policy in their workplace, but only 31.2% had put that policy into practice.

On 30 June CA announced a “Smart Cool Dress Down 夏日輕裝 Campaign” asking companies to adopt a “light dress code” for summer. CA also made a public call on the Chief Executive and the government minister to set an example to adopt the Smart Cool dress code, especially on 7 July, the “Small Heat” in the Chinese calendar. The” campaign generated community-wide discussion and on 7 July, CA stepped up the pressure with another public statement making the same call and lamenting at the total silence from the government.

It turned out that there was a reason for the government’s non-response. Three days later, on 10 July the Chief Executive announced in the Legislative Council Questions and Answers Session that the Administration would encourage civil servants to dress casual in summer. That would enable the 25.5oC air-conditioning temperature to be realistically enforced. True to his words, the Chief Executive began to abandon his bow tie during summer. Later, on 25 July, he launched the “Action Blue Sky” adding other energy conservation initiatives.

CA was glad that its advice had been heeded although it was never acknowledged by the government.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | Leave a comment

Chp 137, LNG Terminal at Soko Islands – Forty years champion for the environment

LNG Terminal at Soko Islands

China Light and Power (CLP) proposed to develop a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal receiving terminal on Soko Islands, south of Lantau in 1 September 2006.

CLP claimed that the existing source of natural gas off Hainan Island , i.e., Yacheng, which runs by pipeline to Hong Kong, would run out early next decase. An LNG terminal to supplement the shortage is required to meet the government’s 2010 emission targets. CLP submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the government on 19 October 2006 and the report was approved by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) on 3 April 2007.

CA was of an opinion that meeting the 2010 emission targets might not necessarily require to construct the LNG terminal on Soko Islands. On supply of clean fuel, the government should mandate flue-gas desulphurization (FGD) as a requirement for all coal-fired power generation. It should also set out clearly the preference for natural gas, and commit to conducting a detailed feasibility study on securing sustainable supply for LNG. In the latter case, sustainability means looking beyond electricity power generation and consumption, but taking a broader view of LNG as a central facility to fulfill our energy needs (including that of motor vehicles). It also means looking beyond Hong Kong’s boundary for possible solutions, although an LNG terminal within Hong Kong must not be precluded as an option. It does mean, however, that Soko Islands, a committed site for the extension of the Marine Park and an established site of ecological importance, must be excluded from the possible sites for LNG terminal.

CA wrote to the Legislative Council to express our following viewpoints:

  • The installation of FGD to reduce emissions should be accorded with priority by CLP; this would meet the 2010 emission reduction targets;
  • The Administration is responsible for mapping out a long-term sustainable energy policy taking into account the need for development of power infrastructure in the Pearl River Delta Region;
  • The water near the Soko Islands are of high ecological value and the habitat of the Chinese White Dolphins and Finless Porpoise; we are dissatisfied with delay in demarcating the Soko Islands as marine park which has been agreed by the Chief Executive in Council as early as 2002; and
  • Both the administration and CAPCO have the responsibilities to identify other sites or options to avoid affecting the Soko Islands.

By August, 2008, the Government announced that a energy MOU was signed with the Central Government in Beijing. Beijing agreed to gurantee supply of LNG to Hong Kong in the coming 50 years. CA welcomed the MOU a letter of endorsement was written to the Enviornmental Bureau head, Edward Yau. CLP was then forced to give up the plan on Soko Islands.

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | Leave a comment