's Blog

Policy Address

Here's the good news…
January 16, 2013

Today Hong Kong's Chief Executive, C Y Leung, gave his inaugural policy address. We've been waiting with baited breath to hear what he says about environmental matters. And the verdict is… good, in many ways. Never mind that CY's popularity is frightfully weak, with a 31% approval rating as of yesterday, eek. He's still the leader, and based on early reports of the address, I feel like we're possibly getting somewhere with putting sustainability higher on the concerns list.
CY directly addressed the pressing issue of air quality in Hong Kong, confirming for instance that ships would be required to switch to low sulphur fuel while at berth in Hong Kong - a huge step for emissions-control policies in Hong Kong. Civic Exchange estimated that such a law would reduce sulphur dioxide and particulates emissions from ocean-going vessels by 33% and 25% territory-wide, respectively. Amazing, and a real nod to the success of the industry-led Fair Winds Charter that paved the way for this move.
The Chief Executive also highlighted the importance of good old nature conservation, in keeping with Hong Kong's commitment last year to adhere to the guidelines of the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). He promised "proactive planning that will restore Hong Kong’s degraded terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and enhance ecosystem services that anchor our valuable quality of life in Hong Kong." This means that the development of a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for Hong Kong will move forward, and hopefully quickly. Stay tuned.
There were items conspicuously absent or under-developed in the speech, but when aren't there? I'm prepared to take wins where I can find them, and go from there. Without having heard the speech in its entirety yet, I am optimistic, and keen to see what conversations and campaigns arise out of the address. I definitely look forward to watching the government fulfill on its promising statements.



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