Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary highlights commitment to green transformation and collaborative climate action at U.S.-China high-level event

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30th May 2024 – (San Francisco) During a speech delivered at the U.S.-China High-level Event on Subnational Climate Action in San Francisco, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, emphasised the importance of global cooperation and green transformation in combating climate change. The event, held on May 29 (California time), served as a platform for discussing strategies and initiatives to address the pressing issue of climate change.

Mr Chan acknowledged the widespread impact of climate change, noting that last year was the hottest on record globally, with this year continuing the trend of breaking heat records. He expressed concern about the insufficient progress in limiting global warming to the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as highlighted during the recent COP28 in Dubai. However, he drew inspiration from the commitment demonstrated by certain countries and economies, particularly China.

China’s ambitious targets of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060 were lauded by Mr Chan. He emphasized China’s role as a global leader in green transformation, citing its remarkable achievements in renewable energy generation and becoming a major supplier of renewable energy equipment. Through these efforts, China has contributed to reducing the costs associated with renewable energy, making it more accessible to developing nations.

Mr Chan outlined Hong Kong’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and highlighted the city’s proactive stance on climate action dating back to 1997 when it halted the construction of new coal-fired power plants. He noted that Hong Kong’s carbon emissions peaked in 2014, attributing the decline to the gradual transition from coal to natural gas and zero-carbon sources for power generation. Furthermore, he emphasized the city’s focus on low-carbon transformation in the transport sector, with a significant rise in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in recent years.

Beyond carbon neutrality, Hong Kong aims to promote green and sustainable progress regionally and globally. The city has played a significant role in arranging over one-third of Asia’s green and sustainable bond issuances and actively participates in international green standard-setting. Hong Kong has also aligned its green taxonomies with international standards and invested resources in nurturing talent to support green development in the region.

Mr Chan underscored Hong Kong’s commitment to green technology by offering capital, research and development support, and facilitation measures to foster green start-ups. The city’s innovation and technology research centers, such as Science Park and Cyberport, house over 200 green start-ups and companies that provide technological solutions to environmental challenges.

Highlighting the importance of collaboration, Mr Chan welcomed U.S. companies, tech firms, researchers, and green tech experts to join Hong Kong in building a sustainable future. He praised the financial cooperation agreement signed between Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the California-China Climate Institute, which focuses on climate-risk analysis, management, and talent development.