Public Policy Bulletin (5th Issue - June 2023)

2 This bulletin introduces a paper written by Chow et al. (2022) which examines how these three categories of uncertainties have hindered the development of shipping emissions regulations in Hong Kong and how scientific research has facilitated collaboration among civil society actors, private sector stakeholders, and public policymakers by reducing these uncertainties. Study Methodology An in-depth case study approach was applied to investigate how and why the current shipping emissions policy was developed first in Hong Kong and subsequently in mainland China. The case study comprehensively analyzed the policydevelopment process based on three information sources. The first was a scientific literature review of all Englishlanguage empirical studies published between 2000 and 2019, in academic journals and grey literature related to shipping air pollution in Hong Kong. The second was a review of public consultation documents produced by the Hong Kong government during public consultations for vessel fuel regulations. The third was a series of semi-structured interviews with 17 key informants conducted between August 2020 and August 2021. Anonymity was guaranteed. The interviews were organized mainly via online video conferencing, providing first-hand information regarding the air-quality science and policymaking process in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA). Based on the findings of the case study, this paper offered recommendations pertaining to similar policy issues. Findings and Analysis The case study divided the development of policy to regulate shipping emissions into four stages. Although these stages could overlap, policy collaboration and formulation at later stages depend on the outcomes of previous stages. Stage I: Scientific research has reduced substantive uncertainties Before 2000, shipping emissions received insufficient attention because of a lack of scientific evidence of their pernicious impacts on ambient air quality and public health. For instance, during that period, cargo vessels were permitted to use fuels with sulphur content up to 4.5%, compared with the 0.005% content permitted for road vehicles. Nevertheless, a sequence of scientific studies published between 2003 and 2013 confirmed that the shipping industry was one of the main sources of ambient air pollution in Hong Kong (e.g., Lau et al., 2007). During this period, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (HKEPD) was motivated to implement comprehensive studies of local shipping emissions, notably constructing, in 2008, the city’s first maritime emissions inventory (Ng et al., 2012). Scientific studies carried out during the first stage significantly reduced the substantive uncertainties policymakers faced. During this stage, Civil Exchange, an independent think tank, also took an initial step to resolve strategic and institutional uncertainties, e.g. by stipulating who could serve as the regulator and whether the regulation would be feasible, by surveying shipping emissions control policies worldwide. Stage II: Collaboration among stakeholders resolved substantive, strategic and institutional uncertainties In response to accumulating scientific evidence of shipping emissions' impact on local air quality and public health, Civic Exchange began serving as an unbiased mediator between scientists, the government, and the private sector, summarize and disseminate scientific findings, organize dialogues, and convene stakeholders to take collaborative measures (Ng, 2018). In 2011, the Fair Winds Charter (FWC), a voluntary industry-led voluntary agreement to switch to low-sulphur fuel, was initiated. The FWC exemplified the economic and political feasibility of regulating shipping emissions in Hong Kong. It also provided evidence that shipping emissions control could improve air quality. From 2012 to 2013, multiple studies indicated the detrimental impacts of marine emissions on public health (e.g. Lai et al., 2013). Collaborative efforts taken by a wider range of stakeholders during the second stage substantially reduced the substantive, strategic, and institutional uncertainties that various interest groups had identified. Stage III: The enactment of shipping emissions regulation in Hong Kong Extensive scientific and economic evidence validating the need to control shipping emissions cleared the way for the government to take decisive action. In 2012, a controlled laboratory experiment jointly implemented by government officials, local vessel operators’ representatives, and academics showed that high-and-low sulphur diesel fuels performed only slightly differently with respect to fuel consumption, engine power, and engine durability, demonstrating the technological feasibility of regulatory control shipping emissions (Leung & Cheng, 2013). In the same year, the government initiated the three-year Port Facilities and Light Dues Incentive Scheme. The scheme halved the port facility dues for OGVs that transitioned to lowsulphur fuel at berth. On 1 July 2015, the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation was enacted following approval by the Legislative Council. Thereafter, lowsulphur marine fuel became compulsory for OGVs at berth in Hong Kong. The regulation, however, restricts sulphur content to 0.5% instead of 0.05% because lower-sulphur fuels were costly and less readily available for smaller carriers in the region (Zhang et al., 2018). Stage IV: Policy collaboration in the GBA developed shipping emissions regulations into national-level policy in China The Role Science Plays in Reducing Policy Uncertainties: Collaborative Governance for Shipping Emissions Control in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area Public Policy BULLETIN