Lessons from COVID to accelerate Decarbonisation in Hong Kong

ReThink 2020 on-demand
Day 2 – 29th October

Title: Lessons from COVID to accelerate Decarbonisation in Hong Kong


– Under the Paris Agreement, Hong Kong has the obligation to formulate a long-term decarbonisation strategy up to 2050 to limit the global average temperature to well- below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

– In the midst of the global pandemic, how can Hong Kong’s stakeholders accelerate the investments needed to meet Hong Kong’s obligations?


– Average temperatures have already increased by 1.1°C.  Scientists agree that we should limit global warming to 1.5°C. This means that we need to cut our emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. Power, buildings and mobility have the highest emission reduction potential

– It is technically feasible to reach net zero. Let’s aim for 90% reduction and improve governance for now. There is much to do to get there. The sooner we start, the easier the journey.

– Latest Civic Exchange report revealed the transition will bring us HK$460 billion cumulative economic benefits and, ultimately, save 26,000 lives annually. Together, we can, we must, and we will act to adapt.. It is our only choice.

– In the post-COVID-19 era, the government wants to revive the economy . This will be a timely opportunity to resolve the housing problem and decarbonize HK at the same time – for that, we have to take a holistic approach. Hong Kong must develop zero carbon infrastructure and buildings, work on reducing our emissions and water consumption, improve waste management and enhance climate resilience. HK needs to start NOW. 

Post-event actions for delegates:

– Adopt a long-distance relay runner’s mentality – Plan for the long term. Start now. We’re not each running alone; we go as fast as possible and pass the baton to the next generation.

– Improve governance through delegation, make low-carbon our DNA, and clarify responsibility for everyone in the society – government, regulators, businesses, NGOs, education institutions, professional bodies, and individuals of all ages.

– SME and individual support are important in reaching our climate target. We need to explore innovative solutions and finance models to mobilize enable them to change.

– To transform Hong Kong into a low-carbon resilient Economy, we must invest and set standards.

Lawrence Iu, Programme Manager, Civic Exchange (Moderator)

Dr. Vincent Cheng, Arup Fellow and East Asia Director of Sustainability, Arup

Eric Stryson, Managing Director, Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT)

Agnes K Y Tai, Senior Partner, Yaozhi Asset Management International Co., Ltd.

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