Public and private sector collaboration needed for Hong Kong to achieve net-zero emissions

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Environmental organisations discussed the future of decarbonisation in the building sector at a recent webinar and reports release, calling for cooperation to reach the 2050 carbon neutrality target.

Image courtesy of HK2050 is Now.

Civic Exchange, an independent public policy think tank, released two reports at a webinar on the decarbonisation of building systems in Hong Kong as part of the blueprint for Hong Kong to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The reports were released as a collaboration between HK2050 is Now, a Civic Exchange-led initiative advocating for net-zero emissions, and the Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance (GBA-GFA) led by Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA).

The first report, ‘Decarbonising Hong Kong Buildings: Policy Recommendations and Next Steps’,  recommends the establishment of a cross-agency body with experts and policymakers from different fields to coordinate the incentives and regulations necessary for the building sector to achieve net-zero by 2050.

“In Hong Kong, buildings account for 90 percent of electricity consumption and 60 percent of greenhouse gas emission, reducing energy consumption of the building sector is therefore crucial for achieving our carbon neutrality goal,” remarked Dr Ma Jun, Chairman and President of the HKGFA.

A graph showing Hong Kong’s decarbonisation path on its current trajectory compared to a full decarbonsation strategy. Source: Hong Kong Energy Policy Simulator.

The second report, ‘Green Building Rating Systems Energy Benchmarking Study’, provides analysis on different existing Green Building Rating Systems (GBRs) by comparing their similarities and differences. It also put forward suggestions on how GBRs can be improved, specifically for the Hong Kong building sector.

“The energy benchmarking report suggests that energy-saving requirements at all levels are crucial for the building sector to move towards the net-zero. Incentives must be tied to decarbonisation and rating systems should be recognised by the international green finance bodies in order to attract more investments,” Dr Ma Jun emphasised.

The panel discussion following the presentation focused on challenges and opportunities for the building sector to achieve carbon neutrality. Prashant Kapoor, Chief Industry Specialist of the World Bank Group, addressed the problem that developers often overestimate the cost of going green in a building project. Amit Tanna, Managing Director of the Greater China & North Asia region of Standard Chartered, stated that all Standard Chartered offices will be carbon zero by 2030.

In the closing remark, Anne Chan, board member of Civic Exchange, reiterated that purposeful collaboration between the public and private sector is needed to achieve net-zero emission in Hong Kong.

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