The Amazon is a long way from Hong Kong, but the fires that have been burning in recent weeks may well have an impact far beyond South America. The devastating scenes are also a reminder that when it comes to protecting our planet for the future, we must all work together.
Hong Kong, along with the rest of the world, is under pressure to cut its carbon emissions dramatically in order to stop the advance of global warming. So it is timely that the Government has recently launched a public engagement exercise to help develop its long-term strategies to address climate change. We welcome many of the recommendations in the document, and you can read more of the Chamber’s suggestions in our cover story.
A key finding is that we urgently need to move towards zero-carbon emissions, and away from fossil fuels, although stability and reliability with supply are also important considerations. This can only happen with major commitments by governments, businesses and consumers.
As individuals, we will all need to look at our habits. A recent Chamber roundtable discussed some of the simple measures we can take, such as eating less meat, that can make a big difference. It was a shock to learn that meat consumption in Hong Kong is five times the global average.
For businesses, big changes are also ahead. As buildings are by far the biggest users of electricity, they will likely be faced with tighter regulations, which will affect many sectors besides the obvious ones like property developers. We hope the Government will consider incentives to help companies make their offices more energy efficient. Comprehensive guidance will also be crucial to ensure that businesses fully understand any new regulations.
On the other hand, these big changes will also create opportunities for companies that are ahead of the curve when it comes to offering services and products for more eco-conscious lifestyles and to help businesses comply with any new regulations.
In the past few months, Hong Kong has had plenty of local problems to deal with. Between the trade war and the protests, many of us have had our hands full trying to mitigate the impact on our businesses.
But we should not forget about the bigger picture. We all want a peaceful and prosperous Hong Kong, and we cannot achieve that without ensuring the long-term sustainability of our city, and the whole planet.