WWF Reveals the Latest Carbon Footprint Data Average Carbon Footprint of Hong Kong Citizen is 13.44 Tonnes, Air Travel to Blame
Dr William Yu, Head of WWF-Hong Kong’s Climate Team, believes that the findings will be a valuable reference for formulating effective carbon reduction policy for Hong Kong. He says, “The average carbon emissions indicated by our carbon calculator is higher than the 6.7 tonnes announced by the Hong Kong Government, mainly because the government’s calculations do not include air travel. To effectively promote low-carbon living in Hong Kong, we must get the full picture of Hong Kong’s carbon footprint data, otherwise we will miss a golden opportunity to reduce Hong Kong emissions.”
In order for individuals to cut down their carbon footprint, WWF-Hong Kong suggests reducing the number of long-haul flights they take, or by choosing low-carbon modes of transportation such as trains. Also, WWF encourages companies to use more video-conferencing as a way to decrease the amount of business air travel for staff.
WWF-Hong Kong’s ‘Climateers Ambassador Experiential Programme’ has the support of The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited as its lead partner. Since November 2009, WWF has held activities such as workshops, field visits and seminars for the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Junior Police Call and the public, totaling 200 people, to provide them with low-carbon living tips and to teach them the sciencebehind climate change. WWF-Hong Kong found that the average carbon emissions of the 200 Climateer Ambassadors per year per person is 9.03 tonnes, and they are able to reduce their carbon footprint in their daily lives by an average of two tonnesof carbon dioxide per year per person, through various lifestyle adjustments. This is equivalent to 23% of individual carbon emissions, higher than what participants pledged to cut, i.e. 5 % when joining the training programme.
Dr William Yu believes that Hong Kong citizens have the power and opportunity to prepare for a low carbon future, “WWF urges the government to accelerate their commitment to combating climate change by releasing their climate change consultation study, fast-tracking the establishment of emissions reduction targets and helping people understand how to contribute to building a real low-carbon Hong Kong that will meet the challenges of climate change.”
According to the finding, there are significant differences among carbon emission sources and carbon reduction profiles based on the age, district and occupation of respondents. From the data WWF collected, one’s carbon footprint grows with age; as for occupation, those in the marketing, advertising and public relations industries have the highest carbon footprint. Both may be correlated to overseas travel and working abroad. (For details, refer to Appendix 1.)
Today (August 7th), WWF-Hong Kong launched the “Climateers Ambassador Summit” (hereinwith called The Summit), where the 200 participants and their outstanding achievements in carbon dioxide reduction will be acknowledged. (Outstanding cases can be found in Appendix 2) The winners of the Low-Carbon Arena will visit Shanghai, they will also take a look at the HSBC Climate Partnership Programme’s demonstration sites at Wuhan and Yangtze River Basin in late August. They will learn more about the impact of climate change on the local population as well as surrounding natural habitat areas, and also explore carbon reduction technology as well as the measures being taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The efforts of the programme are paying off in both public awareness and in actual carbon emissions reduction, an outcome that is meeting the approval of all stakeholders, including Mark McCombe, CEO Hong Kong, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited,the lead partner of the programme."We offer our congratulations to all participants of the "Climateers Ambassadors Experiential Programme" for a job well done. While we celebrate the Climateers’accomplishments, let's remember that now is the most critical phase of the programme: we must use what we have learned to continue our journey to contribute towards a better and more sustainable world," says McCombe.
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr. Lee Boon-ying, adds, “Climate change causes rising temperatures and erratic rainfall. Over the past century, the temperature of Hong Kong seawater has increased 0.5 degrees Celsius. This will lead to thermal expansion and a rise in sea levels,” he explains. “The catastrophic typhoon Hagupit that flooded Tai O in 2008 used to be an event that only happened once in 50 years, but by the middle of this century, it will happen once every nine years and then by the end of this century, once in two years if climate change continues. We need to change our lifestyle and practice low-carbon living to prevent the crisis from happening.”