Hong Kong 2050 is Now: Hong Kong Think Tank Urges Immediate Climate Actions

June 29, 2020 - 09:18
Hong Kong 2050 is Now: Hong Kong Think Tank Urges Immediate Climate Actions

Hong Kong can achieve net zero emissions by 2050 if all parties act now


HONG KONG, CHINA - MediaOutReach - 29 June 2020 - If we act now, Hong Kong can reduce greenhouse gasemissions by 90% by decarbonizing the power sector, improving building efficiency, and enhancing mobility, according to a comprehensiveroadmap released today by Civic Exchange, an independent public policy thinktank, and World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization.

Photograph credit: Sébastien Goldberg

The report highlights the urgency as well as the opportunitiesfor Hong Kong to strengthen policy action. The recommendations can not onlyguide Hong Kong to significant emissions reductions by 2050, they also offer HongKong a glimpse of a carbon-neutral future that is greener and more-liveable,with minimal pollution, readily available public transport, healthy low-carbonlifestyles and more. To achieve this, the city must step up as a leader incombating the global climate emergency.

"Unlike other cities, Hong Kong doesn't have amanufacturing economy so is relatively easier to decarbonize," said LawrenceIu, a co-author of the report launched Towards a Better Hong Kong: The Pathwayto Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) urged the international community to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050to avoid irreversible consequences of climate change. WRI and Civic Exchange'sreport states that Hong Kong is likely to achieve our 2030 climate target ofreducing absolute carbon emissions by 26-36% compared with 2005. Hong Kong has yetto set targets to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

"Over the past decades, Hong Kong has made significant progress inpromoting low-carbon development.  Since2005, Hong Kong's GDP grew by about 50%but greenhousegas emissions reduced by 1.2%. This indicatesthat Hong Kong's economic growth has already decoupled from greenhouse gasemissions." said Wee Kean Fong, Deputy Director of WRI China. "However, to achieve global net zero emission by 2050,all cities around the world, including Hong Kong, will need to step up climateaction urgently."

The report evaluates key policies for the economy andprovides policy recommendations for strengthening Hong Kong's transition to anet zero emission society. Among these, power generation, building energyefficiency, and transportation are the sectors with the greatest potential foremission reductions, amounting to a total of 32 million tonnes of carbondioxide between now and 2050 should the report's policy recommendations befully adopted.

"By embracingthe net zero emissions pathway, we can look forward to a cleaner, greener andhealthier Hong Kong," said Lisa Genasci, CEO of the ADM Capital Foundation. "andreap significant economic and social benefits, in particular, life qualityimprovement and job creations." Overall, 26,000 lives could be saved fromcleaner air alone and there would be HK$ 460 billion in monetized benefits by2050.

This report is the first in a series of projects by Hong Kong 2050 is Now , a joint initiative commissioned by Civic Exchange andWRI with a mission of transforming Hong Kong into a carbon neutral city. The current report wasjointly funded by RS Group, ADM CapitalFoundation, WYNG Foundation and HSBC. HK2050 is Now is currently embarking onPhase Two--conducting deep dives into sector-specific areas, including energysupply, building energy efficiency, transportation, carbon pricing, andlifestyle to provide analysis and more detailed solutions for Hong Kong.

Key Policy Recommendations for Hong Kong's Roadmap to a Zero-Emissions Future


Decarbonization Sector

Reduction potential (million tons CO2e)

Key policies



  • Develop more local renewable energy
  • Complete the transition from coal to gas fired electricity generation. Plan to add carbon capture and storage (CCS) to gas fired generation units when the technology is viable
  • Source more near zero carbon energy from regional sources
  • Replace gas with zero or near zero hydrogen

Building Energy Efficiency


  • Introduce stricter energy efficiency standards
  • Make transparent energy efficiency reporting a pre-requisite for GFA concessions.
  • Incentivize retrofits.



  • Tighten vehicle fuel economy standards
  • Implement an electric vehicle sales mandate by mid-2030

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its own territory, Hong Kong must consider the implications of the global move to net zero.  In particular, (a) Greenhouse gas emissions from producing the food, manufactured goods and building materials it imports; and, (b) the impact on its economy of reducing shipping and aviation emissions. For this Hong Kong needs better information. For example, to obtain a better understanding of the emissions required to construct buildings, the report recommends making it a pre-requisite for GFA concessions that a Life Cycle Analysis is provided for a new building before an occupation permit is issued.

Learn more by visiting the Hong Kong 2050 isNow website https://hk2050isnow.org

About Hong Kong 2050 is Now

Hong Kong 2050 is Now is a joint initiative ofCivic Exchange, World Resources Institute, RS Group and ADM Capital Foundation,WYNG Foundation and HSBC to galvanise collective action towards a climateneutral Hong Kong by 2050. We aim to engage partners across relevant sectors toshed light on Hong Kong's pathway to climate neutrality. This includesresearch, policy and other recommendations in key sectors, including energy,mobility, building efficiency, nature-based solutions, lifestyle considerationsand carbon pricing.

AboutCivic Exchange

CivicExchange is an independent public policy think tank with a vision to shape aliveable and sustainable Hong Kong. Our mission is to engage society andinfluence public policy through research, dialogue and the development ofpractical solutions. Civic Exchange has been ranked among the top 50environment policy think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvaniasince 2011.

About WorldResources Institute

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a globalresearch organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices inBrazil, China, Europe, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UnitedStates. Our more than 1,000 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at thenexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We work onseven urgent challenges: climate, energy, food, forests, water, cities andocean. We deliver on these challenges in part through our expertise inbusiness, economics, finance and governance.