CARE2022 Hong Kong Conference

2 Observations and Recommendations The following Observations and Recommendations include those in Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6. We hope they contribute to deliberation by the HKSAR Government and help all interested stakeholders in Hong Kong. We welcome comments and stand ready to support Hong Kong’s climate and sustainability transition. I: Nexus between Mitigation and Adaptation Climate mitigation and adaptation are intimately related. Development projects must therefore consider them together. This means a wide range of government Bureaux and Departments need to be involved to align policies. It also needs the steer of the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary who can take the broadest possible view. The government’s role is vital in adaptation because extreme weather events affect the community. Only the government has the capacity, policy tools and financial means to deal with long-term horizons, as well as to build defensive infrastructure. Dealing with climate change requires policies that invariably run up against cost/benefit calculations, concerns over effectiveness of interventions, and achieving equity across society. The government should be transparent about these policies and engage with stakeholders on the trade-offs as part of their decision-making. This will increase public understanding and improve governance. II: General Observations Broadly speaking, 12 observations arise from CARE2022: 1. The climate and sustainability transition affects the entire economy, and the transition will be sustained for decades to come because it is a global transition. Hong Kong’s development projects offer mitigation and adaptation opportunities can stimulate private sector investment, talent development, and job creation. 2. Hong Kong’s policy planning and design processes should explicitly aim to optimize mitigation and adaptation opportunities. Given the importance of the climate and sustainability transition, stronger mainstreaming within the HKSAR Government is necessary and should lead to all Bureaux and Departments considering the impact of these issues on their responsibilities and opportunities. 3. Hong Kong’s has carried out outstanding adaptation in slope management and flood prevention – two major risks for the city – backed by strong meteorological science. 4. While sea level rise is a challenge for coastal regions, the risks from it are less imminent than risks from landslides and flooding for Hong Kong. Decisions must, however, be made on designing sufficient margins of safety for coastal defensive infrastructure for the short to medium term and the details explained. 5. The significant policy gap is on buildings regulation. This needs to be urgently reviewed and upgraded to meet both Hong Kong’s 2035 carbon reduction target and its 2050 carbon neutrality goal. Buildings must be more resource and energy efficient and better able to cope with extreme heat. 6. New regulatory standards for mitigation and adaptation invariably run up against queries on cost/benefits calculations, effectiveness of interventions, and achieving equity across society. It is unclear what are the trade-offs in areas where the government has been acting and where it has not. For example, why hasn’t more progress been made on reducing energy consumption in buildings given they consume 90% of the electricity causing 60% of the carbon emissions.