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Gov't keen to nurture green industries

December 04, 2013

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

We are facing various environmental challenges - carbon emission reaching record highs, global warming, climate change, air pollution, just to name a few. These challenges are of increasing concern and magnitude, affecting the daily life of everyone in the world and posing serious threat to our future.
For centuries, the global economy has shown its ability to deliver transformative solutions, while innovation has brought us to a time of unprecedented economic and scientific progress.
There is no doubt that basic economic and technical systems already exist to deliver further technological advances. However, in the light of pressing environmental challenges ahead of us, faster and broader innovation of new technology is critical for achieving a sustainable future.
The Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to creating an enabling environment to facilitate scientific innovation generally, and the development of green industries specifically.
In terms of hardware, the Hong Kong Science Park, our innovative hub providing world-class facilities to support and nurture development, research and innovation business, is now home to over 40 partner companies of various green technologies. There are also another 50-plus incubatees of green technologies.
Last year, the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation was formally designated by the Ministry of Science & Technology as a Hong Kong National High-Tech Industrialisation (Partner) Base for Green Technology, in recognition of Science Park's achievement in supporting green technology, and I congratulate the corporation on this.
Nurturing green industry
With the success of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Science Park, the Government secured funding approval in April 2010 to develop Phase 3 of the Science Park, which will provide dedicated facilities for nurturing green industries such as environmental and renewable energy technologies upon completion early this (next) year.
I was very pleased to hear from the Chairman Mr Nick Brooke that this wonderful project is on time and within budget. It will offer one of the best R&D ecosystems in the region for developing and commercialising the products of the tenants.
The Phase 3 development is itself an excellent showcase of sustainable construction. It is designed to be carbon neutral over its lifetime by adopting principles of reduction, efficiency and regeneration.
It exemplifies the commitment to a sustainable future. As around 90% of Hong Kong's energy consumption takes place in buildings, buildings are the best place to target in our efforts towards reducing carbon emission.
The Secretary for the Environment in this term of the Hong Kong SAR Government, a green architect by training whom I had worked closely with during my tenure as the Secretary for Development in promoting green buildings, and in bringing into creation the Hong Kong Green Building Council, is leading an inter-departmental steering committee to formulate strategies and action plans.
I sincerely hope that more buildings would incorporate the latest green technologies and sustainable design to transform Hong Kong into a smart green city.
Spanish collaboration
Furthermore, I am delighted to know that the Barcelona City Council and the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation will establish a Barcelona Smart City Campus at the Science Park, marking the first inter-city partnership to attract overseas technology start-ups to set up their regional hubs here.
This initiative complements our already close relationship with the City of Barcelona through a memorandum of understanding signed between Hong Kong and Barcelona in the spheres of urban planning, urban design, infrastructure development and waterfront design, which I had the pleasure of witnessing during my trip to Barcelona in November last year.
I am confident that the Science Park programme will accelerate green innovation and entrepreneurship and contribute to a smart green future for the two cities.
Let me also take this opportunity to briefly introduce the Hong Kong SAR Government's commitments in sustainable development. In respect of air quality, the Government has accorded priority to encouraging the use of green transport technologies.
We have set up a $300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund to support the testing of green and innovative technologies applicable to the public transport sector and goods vehicles. The Government has taken the lead in using electric vehicles and has been fully subsidising franchised bus companies to try out electric and hybrid buses.
Efficiency focus
In respect of green building, a three-pronged approach is adopted. Firstly, mandatory requirements are in place to ensure the compliance with the minimum energy efficiency standards for key building service installations, the amount of heat transferred through the external walls and roofs of commercial or hotel buildings, et cetera.
A Mandatory Energy (Efficiency) Labelling Scheme is also implemented to promote energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Secondly, incentives are provided for developments incorporating sustainable design elements, such as renewable energy power systems. Thirdly, the Government leads by example, through the adoption of green building features and practices in government buildings.
To underline our commitment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Government has already proposed in 2010 to reduce Hong Kong's carbon intensity by 50% to 60% in 2020, as compared with 2005.
We believe that these measures could lead Hong Kong to become the greenest city in the southern part of China.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of InnoAsia 2013 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.