Four things environmentalists can learn from Hong Kong

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Environment, Politics, Technology, Travel

So my three and a half years in Hong Kong are up and I’m wending my way back to the UK tomorrow via the Silk Road over the next four weeks. In my work here, I often suggest environmental policies from other countries that Hong Kong might adopt. But knowledge transfer has traditionally wafted the other way, from East to West. So I thought I’d use my last Hong Kong blog to about what Hong Kong can teach policy makers in the West.   1.   The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Now carrying around 5.79 million passengers a day in Hong Kong […]

Why are Hong’s two power utilities CLP and HKE building an off-shore LNG regasification plant?

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Economics, Environment, Technology

Two weeks ago I experienced the usual level of cognitive dissonance most environmentalists working in Hong Kong get from time-to-time. I spent Thursday at an uplifting conference on green finance organised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the International Capital Market’s Association. Star billing went to the green bonds market, which is starting to really take off with around US$180 billions of issuance, which is around 2% of the value of all bonds issued last year. Hong Kong wants a piece of this – especially the lucrative deals from mainland Chinese banks wanting to raise finance for renewable energy, […]

Train trips in India and China

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics, Environment, Politics, Technology, Travel

Christmas and New Year was spent in India attending a cousin’s wedding and a nephew’s thread ceremony. It’s always fun going back to the country of my birth. I love the food, the music, the great value for money and energy of the place. But It’s also depressing seeing how slowly it changes. India’s stagnation was made even more evident, when six weeks later, I visited the beautiful town of Guilin in Guangxi. Arrivals at Mumbai Airport set the tone. The automated fingerprint check, designed to streamline entry into the country, bureaucratically first demanded two thumbs, then four right fingers, […]

Review – Amitav Ghosh’s “The Great Derangement – Climate Change and the Unthinkable”

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Environment, History, Review

Ghosh’s non-fiction, short book on climate change The Great Derangement is a departure from his forte – the great Asian historic novel. It has all the classic Ghosh hallmarks with meticulous research: instancing the use of coal, oil and gas in pre-colonial Burma and China; a keen understanding of science previously revealed in his novel The Calcutta Chromosome; and the virtuoso use of language we expect from him. The question the novel poses is why literature has been so perfunctory in its engagement with climate change. The evidence of clear-and-present danger from climate chaos has been with us for decades. […]

A week without plastic

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Environment, Waste

Jo Ruxton, who helped set up WWF-Hong Kong’s marine programme some years ago, was in town in October and November helping our plastic litter campaign. After leaving WWF she worked with the BBC, and after that produced the excellent award-winning environmental movie, A Plastic Ocean, about the existential risk being posed by plastic litter. Some factoids from the film: globally 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, 8 million tonnes end up in the ocean. The macro- bits of plastic can be lethal to sea-life. The film has a harrowing scene of an autopsy on a sea-bird, its […]