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23-12-2010 Climate change energy estimates over the top,
         complain greens

Future energy demands in Hong Kong have been "significantly overestimated" in a government-commissioned report on climate change, green groups claim.

An Environmental Protection Department feasibility study on climate change estimates that energy demands will still rise by 36.2 percent in 15 years even if the government adopts the most aggressive emissions reduction plan.

The study, released earlier this month, is the work of independent consultant Environmental Resources Management.

Three green groups - Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF - however, said the figure is "significantly overestimated with no further explanation," as it is much higher than the 6.3 percent rise in energy consumption from 1998 to 2008.

WWF senior campaign officer on climate Angus Wong Chun-yi said such a huge estimated surge in energy demand is unreasonable as aggressive measures to cut energy demand are expected in the coming decade.

"The inaccurate estimation will affect the roadmap on reducing carbon emissions in the future as proposals in the government's consultation document were drawn up from this consultancy study."

The public consultation period on the climate change strategy and action agenda has been extended until the end of the month.

The consultant recommends the department take the most aggressive approach to reduce carbon intensity by 54 percent by 2020.

That will require a significant rebalancing of the fuel mix in the electricity-generating sector - bringing down the contribution of coal to below 10 percent, increasing natural gas generation to meet 40 percent of supply and to boost nuclear to 50 percent in the next decade.

City University management sciences associate professor William Chung Siu-wai said some of the estimations in the report are lacking solid scientific backing as they were not assessed with any commonly used dynamic macroeconomic models such as the Markal-Macro model.

According to the consultant, some measures proposed in the study were not assessed with that particular model either because they are not associated with greenhouse gas reduction or they are not considered to be commercially viable within the necessary time frame.

The three green groups will attend a public forum held by the Energy Advisory Committee today to express views on the government's consultancy study.

Natalie Wong - The Standard

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