Hong Kong will pledge HK$240 billion over the next 15 to 20 years to combat the effects of the climate crisis, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced during her policy address on Wednesday.

A new Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality will be established to implement the government’s “Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050,” which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by that year.

Photo: Mohri UN-CECAR via Flickr

“Climate change represents both a challenge and an opportunity,” Lam said. “Hong Kong must put words into action in addressing the crisis of extreme weather brought by global climate change.”

Lam’s new initiative will aim to replace coal as a means of energy production by 2035. Other measures include promoting energy-efficient buildings, as well as stepping up recycling practices. Currently less than 25 per cent of the city’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power stations.

The government will also implement “green transport” initiatives, “proactively” pursuing hydro fuel cell buses. A pilot scheme for electronic taxis is expected to begin in 2023.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers the last Policy Address in her term on October 6, 2021. Photo: GovHK.

Currently, around two-thirds of the city’s carbon emissions are produced by energy generation, while 18 per cent comes from transport. Around seven per cent arises from waste management.

Garbage disposal changes

To streamline waste management and recycling policies, the Environmental Protection Department will take over the duties of managing waste collection from the Food and Environmental Hygiene department.

The shift aims to “bring the collection, recycling, delivery and treatment of waste under the same umbrella,” Lam said.

Photo: Kaiser Tam/USP & HKFP.

The number of recycling collection points will also be increased from four to 80. The number of vending machines to recycle plastic bottles will also be upped to 120 under the “Reverse Vending Machine Pilot Scheme” set to be launched next year.

The government has already launched a consultation for plans to regulate the use of plastic tableware in the city.

Correction 07.10.21: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article stated that 50 per cent of the city’s electricity production comes from coal. This has been corrected to 25 per cent.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.