2009年2月18日 星期三

Invest NOW in Clean Air/ Civic Party and Business calls for a Green New Deal

The Triple Challenges 

As we move into the Year of the Ox, Hong Kong is faced with three challenges: a global economic crisis characterised as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s; a climate change posing serious risks to the well-being of humankind; and local environmental degradation threatening to dissipate the community’s effort in pursuit for better quality of life. We cannot afford to deal with them one by one. We need a smart solution to deal with them, all at one time. 

A Timely Solution 

In order to create new jobs and to support faltering businesses, there is a community consensus to increase public expenditure. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to not only boost the economy, but to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and to reverse the trend of environmental degradation. This is what we need most: a Green New Deal for Hong Kong. We have the resources, the expertise and the community mandate to do it right. The time to act is now. 

A Public Health Crisis 

There are many facets to a Green New Deal: to tackle pollution, to reduce waste, to better plan the city, to upgrade building stocks, to build sustainable infrastructure, to shift to green transport, to revolutionise energy policy and begin to decarbonise the economy. Each of them will benefit from public investments and innovative policies, and create green jobs and business opportunities. As the first of a series of proposals, we highlight the need to invest in clean air, especially at street level where the causes are primarily local. Poor air quality has cost us dearly, accounting for at least $1.5 billion in direct healthcare every year and $21 billion in total avoidable costs including productivity loss and premature deaths.1 Air pollution is a collective problem requiring collective action with Government providing essential leadership. Tackling air pollution is not only a smart investment; it is the only responsible way to avert a public health crisis.  

Clear Targets 

Over the years many studies have been conducted, and plans devised to tackle air pollution by experts inside and outside of the Government. The time for scientific debate is over. What we need is not more study and discussion, but strong political will to set clear targets and get the job done. Based on the numerous works by expert groups2,3, in particular the “Clean Air and Blue Skies” report by the Council for Sustainable Development (CSD)4 which was then chaired by Mr Donald Tsang, and the Air Management Plan by Civic Exchange5, we believe it is feasible for the Government to adopt the following targets as part of the Green New Deal: 

  1. To commit to meet the WHO IT-2 targets in 2012 and IT-3 targets in 2017, so as to move us forward in meeting the WHO air quality guidelines in full no later than 2022 (see Appendix);
  2. To have mandatory reviews to update air quality standards every five years with reference to WHO guidelines and current science on public health impacts of air pollution.
  3. To commit to invest at least $50 billion in reducing local pollution between now and 2012, corresponding to the action prescribed for the “bold scenario” in the CSD report.
  4. To commit to reduce total road-side emissions to 50% of 2008 level by year 2012.
 Immediate Action 

Dirty buses are major sources of traffic-related pollution which accounts for over half of the total costs of pollution to the community. Buses, while often not the dirtiest vehicles on Hong Kong roads, tend to operate at times of greatest road congestion and in places of greatest pedestrian activity, and hence represent a disproportionate acute exposure risk to very unhealthy levels of air pollution. As an illustration of what is feasible, the Government may set up a special fund of $6 billion from this year’s budget to help bus companies to take the following measures: 

  1. Require all the 3500 Euro II and III franchised buses and non-franchised buses to fit state-of-the-art after-treatment devices which will reduce particulate emissions by up to 90% as well as NOx and NMVOC by up to 30%, before the end of 2009.
  2. Require all the 1500 pre-Euro buses, which are at least 14 years old, to be replaced with Euro V standard vehicles, before the end of 2010.
  3. Legislate a mandatory annual check on in-use vehicles to comply with emission standards at equivalent levels to that set by the California Air Resources Board6.
 In addition to drastically reducing road-side pollution within two years, the above measures will create new business opportunities and new jobs in research, production, operation, maintenance and management. As a medium term target, the Government can implement viable plans to introduce new bus fleets powered by either Compressed Natural Gas (when supplies from the Mainland terminal become available) or diesel-electric hybrid engines. By working with the bus companies, the Government can ensure that any such public investment will become a subsidy to the environment and to the commuters by preventing any bus fare increase, and hence guarantee public support.  

The crises are looming. The window of opportunity is narrow. We call on the Government to embark on a Green New Deal, and as the first initiative, to invest in clean air NOW. 


    2. Hedley AJ, McGhee SM, Barron B, Chau YK, Chau J, Thach TQ, Wong TW, Loh C, Wong CM.  Air pollution: costs and paths to a solution in Hong Kong – understanding the connections among visibility, air pollution and health costs in pursuit of accountability, environmental justice and health protection.  Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health A 2008; 71:544-54. 

    4. Council for Sustainable Development. Clean Air and Blue Skies – the choice is ours. November 2006






踏入牛年,香港面對三大挑戰:() 1930年代大蕭條以來最惡劣的全球經濟危機;() 危及人類存亡的氣候變化及其相關的各種災害;及() 本土每況愈下的環境質素將社會各界追求更高生活質素的努力付之流 水。我們沒有時間逐一處理這些難題。我們需要巧妙的解決方法, 一舉三得同時應付以上難題。 


為了創造就業和支援現正舉步為艱的商業, 目前社會各界已有共識透過增加公共開支化危為機。 這提供了一個史無前例的機會,不止可以推動經濟, 也可以紓緩氣候變化帶來的禍害,同時逆轉環境質素下滑的趨勢。 我們現在最需要的是:屬於香港的綠色新經濟。我們有資源、 專業知識和社會的認受,足以成此大事。現在是行動的時候。 


綠色新經濟有多個層次:治理污染、減少廢物、更完善的城市規劃、 提升樓宇的環保水平、建設可持續發展的基建、轉型至環保運輸、 革命性的能源政策和發展低碳經濟。透過公共投資及創新的政策, 以上每一項都可以創造工作職位和商機。在首輪建議中, 我們強調有需要為清新空氣投入資源, 尤其是路邊空氣皆因其污染源主要來自本土。 惡劣的空氣質素經已令我們飽受損害,直接引致的醫療開支涉及至少 15億元;若包括生產力和人命損失在內,可避免的損失更高達21 0億元。空氣污染成因眾多,需要政府肩負領導責任, 從多方面入手多管齊下才能化解。空氣污染若能圓滿解決, 不止是一項精明的投資, 也是負責任地化解公共健康危機的唯一方法。 


多年來,朝野內外各方專家紛紛提出過不少研究及計劃, 為解決空氣污染出謀劃策。科學論証的階段早已結束。 我們現在需要的不再是更多的研究和討論, 而是強而有力的政治決心,以制定明確目標及把該做的事做好。 建基於一眾專家的工作, 尤其是由曾蔭權先生主持可持續發展委員會時所發表的《清新空氣 藍天再現》報告書(下稱報告書),以及思匯的空氣管理計劃, 我們相信政府有能力實現以下綠色新經濟的目標:

  1. 承諾在2012年達到世界衞生組織(下稱世衞)指引中期目標2及 諾在2017年達到世衞指引中期目標3,好讓我們可以進一步在2 022年達到世衞指引的終極目標(詳見附件)
  2. 參考世衛指引及最新有關空氣污染對公共健康影響的科學數據, 每五年一次對空氣質素指標進行強制性檢討及更新。
  3. 承諾由現在至2012年間,投入最少500億元以減少本土污染排 放,以履行報告書所提議的「進取措施」;
  4. 承諾在2012年時,將路邊廢氣排放減少,較2008年的水平減 少一半。



社會承受污染的代價超過一半源自路面交通污染, 而骯髒的巴士是污染主要來源之一。巴士, 雖然不是香港路面上最骯髒的車輛,但它多數在最繁忙的道路行駛, 穿梭不少行人往來的地方, 因此它會對公眾健康帶來的更直接的污染和風險。可行的對策是, 政府可以在今年的財政預算案中,成立一個60億元的特別基金, 以協助各間巴士公司採取以下措施:

  1. 促使型號屬歐盟II期及III期共3500輛專利及非專利巴士, 裝置殿堂級裝置,以便在2009年底之前, 減少高達九成的懸浮粒子的排放, 及減少高達三成的氮化物及非甲烷揮發性有機化合物;
  2. 促使型號屬歐盟前期共1500輛巴士(最少已有14年車齡),在 2010年底之前更換成歐盟V期巴士;
  3. 立法強制已落地車輛按照與美國加州空氣資源局所訂標準同等的排放 標準 ,進行年度檢驗。


除了可有效地在兩年內大幅減少路邊空氣污染, 上述措施將會創造新的商機和新的工作職位,包括研究、製造、 維修及管理等方面。有關中期目標方面, 政府可以務實地執行計劃以引入新的巴士型號,如壓縮天然氣(可由 內地的天然氣供應),或柴油電力混合燃料巴士。 透過與巴士公司的合作, 政府可以確保公共資源投放用於資助環境改善和毋須乘客負擔巴士加 費,從而確保公眾的支持。 

危機正如幽靈一樣伺機而襲,而通往機會的窗口僅餘一道窄縫。 我們呼籲政府趕上綠色新經濟的潮流。現在率先要做的, 就是立即投資清新空氣。