This edition of Green Hops is dedicated to Andrew Symon, a Singapore-based journalist specializing in energy and whom I have had the pleasure and honor of making an acquaintance of as a result of his writings at Asia Times Online. He passed away unexpectedly on February 24, 2009. Andrew’s generosity, sense of mission and powerful intellect will be sorely missed.
Energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP) last year was reduced by a further 4.59%, bringing the three year total in energy efficiency gains in 2006 through 2008 to 10.08%. This means that to reach its 20% energy intensity reduction target over the five year period for 2006 through 2010, it will have to reduce almost another 10% in energy intensity over 2005 levels. Even if it seems difficult to achieve, such efforts much press on. To sobering reality is that China’s annual greenhouse gas emissions surged 45% from 2002 to 2005 alone due to a combination of structural changes in industrial activities and increased consumption. Half of that increase, apparently, was driven by manufactured exports. But the Chinese authorities say that exports in general are declining (25% year on year) and that the amount of “high-energy-consuming products” exported in 2008 declined 16.2% from the previous year. Read the full story
This is an environmental “Tale of Two Cities.” Two weeks ago, The Green Leap Forward (GLF) attended two separate events introducing two separate emissions rights exchanges in two separate cities. The first was an event hosted by the China Carbon Forum on Sept 23 in the capital, featuring as its main event a presentation introducing the newly formed China Beijing Environmental Exchange (CBEEX or 北京环境交易所) by CBEEX’s Deputy General Manager, Mr. Mei Dewen. Two days later on Sept 25, GLF took the half hour high speed rail eastwards to Tianjin to attend the opening ceremony (pictured below) of the Tianjin Climate Exchange (TCX or 天津排放权交易所) , followed by an extravagant lunch banquet and an afternoon symposium on emissions trading.
Hong Kong is entering into race to open Asia’s first pollution credits exchange. The International Herald Tribune reports that The board of the Hong Kong stock exchange is considering a proposal today a pollution emissions trading system that could serve as a financial platform for companies from mainland China and other Asian countries entering into what is shaping into a $40 to $100 billion market by 2020, according to the International Herald Tribune. This proposal comes fast on the heels of an announcement earlier last month that the China Beijing Equity Exchange of setting up a national (and perhaps pan-continental) pollution emissions exchange (see also earlier post). These are promising indications of the increasing willingness in Asia to use market-oriented mechanisms to stem pollution, or it could simply reflect the growing understanding of the economic opportunities that climate change and pollution presents.
Humble origins of Hong Kong’s pollution trading market?
The IHT article seems to link the proposal to set up a pollution exchange to the willingness of the special administrative region to start tackling its pollution woes in earnest and as an extension of the pilot project between Hong Kong and the province of Guangdong to reduce pollution emissions. I guess I would reserve judgment for now. The Hong Kong stock exchange is a for-profit enterprise and not the Hong Kong government (although the government does have a small financial stake in the stock exchange); the setting up of a pollution trading market in Hong Kong, which is surely justified and motivated by purely financial reasons, does not necessarily mean Hong Kong companies will be required or encouraged to participate in emissions trading. Like any grand plan, the devil is in the details.