Hong Kong’s finance chief has announced plans to transform the city into an international centre for green technology, including bond issues totalling HK$15 billion.

Finance Secretary Paul Chan
Finance Secretary Paul Chan meets the press after delivering the 2023 budget on February 22, 2023. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced the plans when delivering the first budget of Chief Executive John Lee’s term on Wednesday morning.

Green bonds

The financial chief devoted two and a half pages to “green city” plans in his 83-page budget. He said a portion of the government’s green bonds and other infrastructure bonds would be reserved for investment by the city’s Mandatory Provident Fund, giving members of the retirement scheme an additional investment option.

“Promoting a green economy for sustainable development is an important theme globally, and our country is advancing towards the ‘3060 Dual Carbon Targets’,” Chan said. This was a reference to China’s goal of reaching peak carbon by the year 2030 and becoming carbon-neutral by 2060.

Green Peace
Photo: inmediahk.net.

He added that the government had issued a “tokenised” green bond totalling HK$800 million a week earlier.

Greenpeace Hong Kong criticised Chan’s plans, saying he was trying to “dye green” proposed reclamation projects that would damage the marine ecology.

The government was pushing ahead with the Lantau Tomorrow Vision reclamation and development project despite a projected deficit of HK$140 billion in 2022-23, Greenpeace said.

It said in a statement the issuing of green bonds would pave the way for the financing of Lantau Tomorrow Vision. “We urge the government to withdraw the reclamation project which will cost billions.”

New energy transport

Chan announced that HK$220 million would be allocated to finance a New Energy Transport Fund, to promote trials of hydrogen fuel cell electric double-deck buses and heavy vehicles within this year.

The financial secretary also announced plans to set up a Green Technology and Finance Development Committee, with representatives from green technology, green finance and green standard certification organisations, to advise on the city’s environmental agenda.

The 2023 Budget in full:

YouTube video
YouTube video
budget summary 2023

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Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to StandNews, The Initium, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.