Hong Kong Sets Out Green City Aspirations

In his budget speech on Wednesday (February 22) Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the Hong Kong government will maintain funding for the city’s development of new energy and deep decarbonisation.

Chan said Hong Kong is making vigorous efforts to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and reduce its carbon emission by 50% before 2035 as compared with the level in 2005.

To strengthen coordination and promote deep decarbonisation, Hong Kong’s Environment and Ecology Bureau (EEB) has set up the Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality in January this year Chain said, and a Council for Carbon Neutrality and Sustainable Development will also be formed to advise on decarbonisation strategies.

Green Tech Fund

In the past few budgets, Chan allocated resources in support of efforts to address climate change. Last year, he injected additional funding of HK$200 million into the Hong Kong Green Tech Fund (GTF) doubling the provision to HK$400 million.

The GTF received overwhelming responses from applicants, and 22 projects from local universities, designated public research institutes and private enterprises have been approved. These research projects include technologies for the cell storage and generation of hydrogen fuel; manufacturing of biochar-enhanced construction materials; and air cleaning systems for reducing roadside air pollution.

New Energy Transport

Chan said the Hong Kong government has set the target of introducing about 700 electric buses and 3 000 electric taxis by end-2027 and will earmark HK$200 million under the New Energy Transport Fund for progressively commencing trials of hydrogen fuel cell electric double-deck buses and heavy vehicles within this year in collaboration with franchised bus companies and other stakeholders to fully assess their operational feasibility under local circumstances.

“We have also set aside HK$350 million to provide subsidies to four in-harbour ferry operators for the construction and trials of electric ferries and the related charging facilities, with a view to testing the technical and commercial viability of using electric ferries in Hong Kong. The trials are expected to commence in 2024,” said Chan.

Food Waste Reduction

The Financial Secretary pointed out that food waste in Hong Kong accounts for 30% of municipal solid waste disposed of at landfills, so in 2023-24, he is to allocate additional funding of HK$62 million to gradually expand the scope of food waste collection to cover more public and private premises, including food establishments, markets, hotels and large shopping malls.

The food waste collection trial scheme for public rental housing estates will also be extended to cover a total of 100 blocks, involving about 150 000 residents. Through these measures, Chan said he hopes to not only reduce the volume of odorous food waste disposed of at landfills but also deliver the food waste to the Organic Resources Recovery Centre for conversion into renewable energy.

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