VI. Building a Liveable City
Vision for Our City
95. During my five-year tenure as the Secretary for Development, I and my colleagues outlined our vision for a quality city, and we have been working towards its realisation since then. Under innovative policies such as Conserving Central, Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme and Energizing Kowloon East, we have adopted a place-making approach to promote urban development, urban renewal, heritage conservation, harbourfront enhancement as well as landscaping and greening, and our efforts have borne fruit. Though Hong Kong still faces various issues including a shortage of land for housing, traffic congestion and ageing buildings, these challenges should not hinder our determination to build a quality living environment for our people. At the same time, Hong Kong must put words into action in addressing the crisis of extreme weather brought by global climate change.
Striving towards Carbon Neutrality before 2050
96. As carbon dioxide is the major culprit in climate change, our country and many parts of the world have pledged to draw up timetables and roadmaps for decarbonisation. Hong Kong is no exception. As announced in my Policy Address last year, Hong Kong would strive to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050. The Steering Committee on Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality chaired by me will formulate the overall strategy and oversee the co-ordination of various actions. The Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050, to be announced shortly by the Secretary for the Environment, will set out more proactive strategies and measures on reducing carbon emissions to attain carbon neutrality, and will pursue more vigorous interim decarbonisation targets to reduce Hong Kong’s carbon emissions by 50% before 2035 as compared to the 2005 level. To oversee the effective implementation of all these actions, the ENB will set up the Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality to strengthen co-ordination and promote deep decarbonisation. Also, a dedicated advisory committee will be formed to offer advice and promote active participation of major stakeholders including young people.
97. About two-thirds of Hong Kong’s greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation, followed by 18% from the transport sector and 7% from waste. Our decarbonisation efforts must target these three sources, with “net-zero carbon emissions for electricity generation”, zero carbon emissions from the transport sector and achieving carbon neutrality on waste management as the ultimate goals.
98. In order to achieve “net-zero carbon emissions for electricity generation” before 2050, we must first change the fuel mix of local power plants. Our interim target is to cease using coal for daily electricity generation by 2035. This is not a remote target as the share of coal has already been reduced to less than one quarter in the fuel mix for electricity generation. Power companies must continue to phase down coal-fired generation units and replace the use of coal with other alternatives such as natural gas and renewable energy for electricity generation. The Government will grapple with Hong Kong’s geographical and environmental constraints in driving the development of renewable energy, and strive to increase its share in the fuel mix for electricity generation through facilitating local projects, regional collaboration and joint ventures, etc.