Greenpeace presents CLP with withering flowers as products of air pollution

Call for an end to coal power generation

Press release - 2006-02-14
This Valentine’s day, members of Greenpeace arrived at the CLP Power head office located on Argyle Street to call on CLP to put an end to its long-standing reliance on coal power generation. By burning coal, CLP has been polluting the air above Hong Kong and Southern China, and the company has yet to set a definite timeline to develop technology for renewable energy.

On Valentine’s Day, members of Greenpeace arrived at the CLP Power head office located on Argyle Street to call on CLP to put an end to its long-standing reliance on coal power generation.

On Valentine’s Day, members of Greenpeace arrived at the CLP Power head office located on Argyle Street to call on CLP to put an end to its long-standing reliance on coal power generation.

"As one of the largest private power companies in Asia, CLP has continued to burn vast amounts of coal in Hong Kong and is also operating high emission coal-fired units to provide mainland China with electricity[1].  In the process, it releases large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2), air pollutants like respirable suspended particulates (RSP), and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).  Therefore, we are concerned that if CLP continues to deny its obligations to the environment and generate power from coal, and if it further delays the establishing plans to implement renewable energy to improve the air quality in Hong Kong, the health of Hong Kong residents may soon be like the withering roses," said Chow Sze Chung, Air Pollution Campaigner, Greenpeace China.

Outside the entrance of CLP's head office, Greenpeace members returned forty pollution-stricken roses in their own fake smoke vent.  Chow explains that the withering roses are a metaphor for the deteriorating health conditions of Hong Kong residents due to exposure to air pollution, and that Greenpeace's act symbolizes the return of the products of pollution to CLP and that the smoke vents must be blocked to prevent further release of pollutants.

The second phase of consultation in the Legislative Council regarding the Scheme of Control (SOC) is currently underway.  Tomorrow, February 15, Legislative Councilor Albert Chan will move a motion for a debate in the Council about the contents of the SCO.  Chow believes that the debate over the SOC is not only a review of economic matters such as permitted return and energy price, but also a prime opportunity for the government to implement policy that would provide incentives for CLP to direct its efforts into developing renewable energy generation that would eventually eliminate the need for coal power.

The consultation paper suggests a maximum return on renewable energy investment and a link-up of emission performance and rate of return.  Greenpeace urges the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Stephen Ip, to stand firm in protecting the environment and the people by upholding the relevant suggestions in the paper that advance the improvement of Hong Kong's air quality and the reduction of greenhouse gases.  Furthermore, the HKSAR Government should demand that CLP establish as soon as possible a timeline to reduce coal consumption and to develop renewable energy.

Finally, Greenpeace advocates considering the market development in view of the integration of power grids in Southern China.  The supply and demand of power in the province of Guangdong is expected to balance in the next few years.  According to the Wind Guangdong report released by Greenpeace last year, by the year 2020, wind power in Guangdong will be capable of providing 20 million kilowatts of power, equal to the total power consumption of Hong Kong in 2003.  Moreover, Greenpeace calls on the HKSAR Government to form a policy bureau for power sector to impose and enforce regulations over the electricity market.  This action would put an end to the current situation of power companies being governed by several separate government bureaux, and would unite the different areas of policy making together to plan for sustainable development of the electricity market.

It is a global trend for developing clean, safe, and sustainable renewable energy.  CLP's persistent reliance on coal generation paves no way to cleaner air but a cul-de-sac.  CLP's reluctance on renewable energy, particularly wind power - in broader vision of the integration of power grids in Southern China - is a sign of its ignorance.  Such attitude brings no benefit to Hong Kong people, the environment, or even their shareholders.

Notes:

[1]According to the figures in 2005, CLP sold 13% electricity to the Mainland, and all of these were generated by highly polluting back-up coal-fired units.

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