Panel on Environmental Affairs Meeting on 22 January 2020, agenda item #VI “Receiving public views on promoting the use of electric vehicles” | WWF Hong Kong

Panel on Environmental Affairs Meeting on 22 January 2020, agenda item #VI “Receiving public views on promoting the use of electric vehicles”

20 January 2020

We understand the above captioned will be discussed during the meeting of the Panel on Environmental Affairs on 22 January 2020. WWF-Hong Kong (WWF) believes promoting the use of electric vehicles is in line with our call for a low carbon city. The urgency of the climate crisis compels WWF to suggest a bolder transportation decarbonisation roadmap for government to consider:

1. Phase out all sales of fossil fuel-based private vehicles by 2030 and Transit to all EV by 2050

To align with international long-term decarbonisation trends, WWF suggests the Government to phase out all sales of petrol-and/or diesel-based private vehicles by 2030 and transit to all EV by 2050 for a carbon-neutral transport goal. This will enable Hong Kong to remain competitive internationally on sustainability, as other countries and cities have already set out concrete timeline in phasing out the sales of private vehicles powered by fossil fuel in the coming decades, for example, UK, Denmark, France, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver etc. China, the largest automobile market in the world, has also announced in 2017 its plan on a future ban on sales of traditional fuel vehicles. To ensure a smooth transition to all EV by 2050, the government can impose high private car license fee collected every 10 years for each license and provide discounts on energy efficient EV vehicles.

2. Realise 10% renewable energy target by 2030

Currently in Hong Kong, less than 1 per cent of the electricity is generated by renewable energy.  For electrification of vehicles to help more to solve the climate crisis, the city's electricity needs to be generated from renewable resource such as solar energy. WWF suggests a 10% renewable energy target by 2030. To reach the needed 10% renewable energy goal, one of the solutions will be for Hong Kong to diversify and magnify solar photovoltaic (PV) technology by placing solar PV systems on government and community buildings, in open spaces, along vertical faces of buildings, and on highway infrastructure with large surface areas, such as noise enclosures. The government can leverage solar energy innovations in vertical solar panels and curtain walls that suit the unique skyscraper city design in Hong Kong. The government should study the feasibility of floating PV system in the ocean environment. To promote Hong Kong’s renewable energy development, the government can also implement low-carbon pilot villages in local communities powered by solar energy to showcase a sustainable and liveable Hong Kong.

3. Transform to a walkable city and promote low carbon transportation lifestyle

Sustainable transportation requires a paradigm shift from private cars and trucking to different modes of public transport, including bicycle and pedestrian lanes, electric vehicles, car sharing, and rail freight. WWF believes that the government should improve the city’s walkability by enhancing the cycling paths and pedestrian lanes. Sufficient investment should be allocated for the development of electric mobility alternatives, bike-sharing systems, infrastructure, protected bike lanes, signposting, traffic lighting, installation of bike parking stations, road safety upgrades, and an urban cyclists’ manual. To promote a low carbon transportation lifestyle, introduce “Zero Emission Zone” and “no-car-day” in urban area. During the “no-car-day”, private cars are not allowed on the road of the listed area. To promote the use of public transport system, enhance connectivity between passengers and the station.

We believe that the above recommendations are necessary if Hong Kong is working towards a net zero emission goal. We hope to see Hong Kong being Asia’s most sustainable and liveable city which we will all be proud of.