Finance chief: HK keen on fighting climate change

Liu Yifan

Finance chief: HK keen on fighting climate change

Facing a looming climate crisis, officials appealed on Wednesday for more substantial progress to combat climate change by turning existing commitments into decisive and transformational actions.

Delivering his welcome remarks at the Asian Financial Forum’s keynote luncheon, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said Hong Kong is keen on harnessing its status as an international financial center and strengths in professional services to contribute to global environmental objectives.

By taking forward a string of policies and measures, the city is well-poised to address strong demand for sustainable infrastructure and green transitions around the world, Chan said, adding that the amount of green and sustainable debt issued in Hong Kong reached about $57 billion in 2021.

Hong Kong’s carbon emissions peaked in 2014. Today, the city is committed to achieving its Climate Action Plan 2050 by reducing total carbon emissions from the 2005 level by half before 2035 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Chan said the special administrative region government is also “working very hard” in many areas for the environment, such as reducing single-use plastic waste and promoting sustainable consumption of biological resources.

Addressing the luncheon’s keynote session, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon called on the world to be more ambitious and make haste in taking steps to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“The sea level is rising. Summers are getting hotter and longer. And frequency and intensity of rain and flooding are increasing. Again, in this very beautiful Victoria Harbour, if the sea level is rising at this current level, Hong Kong will be underwater,” Ban said. “This is a scientific warning.”

Ban said it was high time to turn international commitments into concrete measures to harness this time of uncertainty as a gateway toward a more sustainable, healthy, and prosperous post-pandemic world.

“That is our moral and political responsibility to live on this planet,” he said.