Blogs

China consumer growth
December 20, 2012
At the Climate Change Conference, held in Doha earlier this month, United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Governments to “accelerate action” to ensure global temperatures do not rise above two degrees Celsius. Beyond this point there is strong consensus in the scientific community that climate change would result in severe human costs through, inter alia, rising sea levels and widespread droughts. As a powerhouse behind the global economy, and as the world’s largest polluter, China, and more specifically its megacities must be at the center of these efforts.
Hong Kong at dusk
December 17, 2012
When it comes to sustainable urban growth, Hong Kong has been a noted success story and possible model for mainland China and other emerging economies. The city’s emphasis on infrastructure has been its traditional path to development, with new towns and a mass transit railway in the 1970s and 1980s, airport and seaport development in the 1990s, and increased bridge and rail links to mainland China in the 2000s. Hong Kong has also enjoyed the flexibility to experiment with greener, socially conscious, and more sustainable development at its own pace.
Hairy nose pollution protection
December 11, 2012
It is one of those embarrassing things that happen from time to time – finding one or two nose hairs poking out of your nose while you are in the company of others. There’s nothing you’d want more than to get your hands on a trimmer and remove it instantly. If you are living in a choking city like Hong Kong, however, you’d be better off keeping your nose hairs and let them grow - they are your first line of defense against air pollution.
Tamil Nadu solar
December 10, 2012
The India solar policy brief on the Tamil Nadu Solar Policy, just published by Bridge To India presents a detailed analysis on the risks and opportunities on the state’s ambitious 3-GW solar power target till 2015. With its policy announcement in October 2012, Tamil Nadu becomes the seventh Indian state out of 28 to announce an official solar target. No breakup between photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) projects has been given as part of the policy.
Sustainable cityscape
December 06, 2012
In 2010, we quietly crossed a global threshold: The majority of the world went from living in rural areas to living in cities. As with foreign direct investment flows and the rise of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations, this shift is a reminder that we live among imperceptible but significant megatrends. By 2050, it is estimated that 70 percent of all people will live in cities, and the infrastructure needs to accommodate them and sustain this growth are massive, requiring a delicate balance of social, environmental, and economic considerations.
Cycle path in Hong Kong
November 29, 2012
The health benefits of regular physical exercise have long been known. As Plato said circa 380 BC: “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” Cycling, in particular, is an efficient way for people to exercise, especially if integrated into people’s everyday lives. This could include cycling to the train station as part of a commute to work or cycling to a shopping mall on the weekend.
UNFCC Qatar 2012
November 23, 2012
Doha. Despite the evident energy, generosity and reasonable success of recent Qatari diplomatic efforts, their capital city remains synonymous with international diplomatic failure and national intransigence. Eleven years ago the World Trade Organization (WTO) launched a new round of multinational negotiations for which there has been no agreement to date. The latest news headline on the WTO web page about The Doha Round says it all: “Chair reports no ‘no’ but also no ‘yes’ for farm talks proposal”.
Asian supply chain
November 14, 2012
The impact of the media coverage of Foxconn on Apple should act as a stark reminder to companies to carefully analyze both their supply chains and how they engage them. Incidents, challenges and tragedies can have a long-lasting impact on both corporate reputations and the resilience of the supply chain itself. Unfortunately, the last few years have seen a decline in creative approaches and investment in strong supply chain engagement programs.
CNOOC, Nexen and Canada's oil sands
November 12, 2012
The economic turmoil of the financial crash saw China being feted as a white knight with drawbridges being lowered to investment from Chinese companies. This has turned to bitterness, like a liberating army becoming an occupying force. Even with struggling solar and wind sectors, China has become the dominant global power it terms of renewable energy companies. This has resulted in the US Department of Commerce increasing tariffs to between 23.75 and 250 percent on solar cells which it calls a way of offsetting subsidies provided by China through one mechanism or another.
Kai Tak Metropark
November 08, 2012
Hong Kong’s new government recently averted another political firestorm when it shot down its own trial balloon proposing last-minute changes to development plans for the former Kai Tak Airport. The waterfront site in the heart of densely built-up East Kowloon has lain largely dormant since the old airport closed in 1998. In July, the new Chief Executive CY Leung came to office promising to tackle Hong Kong’s soaring home prices, and his administration indicated that Kai Tak’s plans would be reviewed with an eye to boosting the housing supply.
Obama Greenpeace catastrophic climate change campaign
November 06, 2012
It was like an elephant in the corner of the room as Hurricane Sandy came roaring through the Northeast United States, disrupting the lives of millions while chalking up to USD45 billion worth of damage, and yet neither presidential candidate mentioned climate change or flagged it as a policy imperative. Throughout the latter weeks of the campaign trail it became painfully obvious that neither Obama nor Romney were willing to utter policy pledges on climate change or anything environmental that could be considered hippy yogurt-weaving scare mongering.
PRD 2020 vision
November 01, 2012
According to the Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) for 2008 -2020, formulated by the National Development and Reform Commission, cities in the PRD are progressively converging into one urban cluster, forming the most densely populated urban corridor in China. The nine prefectures in the region were home to 56.15 million people at the end of 2010, according to the Guangdong Statistic Book 2010. Given that Guangzhou alone expects to have 20 million people by 2020, it is entirely possible the total population of the PRD could double by that time.
Cabon tax
October 29, 2012
Recent studies have highlighted that sizable amounts of carbon emissions are transferred between world regions in the form of traded goods and services. That is, considerably more emissions are generated for the production of imports to countries, such as the EU and US than those associated with their exports. This observation has frequently been regarded as an indication that energy-intensive industries are being relocated from industrialized to developing and newly industrializing countries, especially to China.
IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012 Red Hot Debate
October 11, 2012
Business and ecosystems are linked. All businesses affect ecosystems and rely on the services they provide. However, 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded over the past 50 years. From food, to fuel, to freshwater – nature provides the fundamental infrastructure needed for our societies to survive and prosper, but we are destroying the source of these vital ingredients for life. We can no longer rely on the current economic model, which originated in the Industrial Revolution, to doing things. We must work with nature rather than against it.
Natural capital
October 05, 2012
Despite readily observable changes in climate extremes, skeptics continue to doubt the true impact of global warming.  Regardless of one’s position or politics on this view, it is the intellectually courageous that would deny that natural resources are vital for sustainable development. Lesser known but equally undeniable is the fact that finance, particularly from the private sector, has a critical role to play in supporting the efficient allocation of natural resources and therefore the very real challenges of climate change and sustainability.
Spatial distribution of SO2 from ships around Hong Kong, 2008
October 03, 2012
Finally, some data. A couple of weeks ago Civic Exchange and two Hong Kong universities released a report detailing the extent of emissions from ships in the Pearl River Delta region, and their public health impact. It’s a groundbreaking study. Using 2008 data, researchers from HKUST did a ship emissions inventory of vessels activity across the PRD. They then calculated the dispersion of the pollutants, which showed that Shenzhen and Hong Kong have the most ship emissions, ahead of other coastal PRD regions such as Zhongshan and Dongguan, and outer PRD regions, like Foshan and Huizhou.
India's Taj Mahal reflect sustainability
September 26, 2012
The circular from the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 13 August 2012 finally addressed some of the issues that have been raised about recent regulation on extra financial disclosures in Indian capital markets. It comes as a follow-up to the SEBI Board’s landmark decision in November 2011 that mandated ESG disclosures from the Top 100 listed companies. The comply-or-explain stance on revelation of policy and the nine principles laid out in the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business, published by Ministry of Corporate Affairs in July 2011, provides a good starting point
HK Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh
September 13, 2012
In what must be considered his boldest appointments since he took office at the beginning of July, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has appointed Christine Loh as the Under-Secretary for the Environment in his new administration. Loh was formerly the chief executive of Civic Exchange, the Hong Kong-based think tank she co-founded in 2000, and a staunch but constructive critic of the Hong Kong Government’s environmental policies.
Hong Kong pedestrian traffic
September 10, 2012
The Hong Kong Government had just announced plans to outfit various outdoor areas with lifts. Whether it was political convenience or largess, the Chief Executive, Leung Chin-Ying, has promised a hefty outlay of HK$100 million (USD12.8 million) on planning and HK$1 billion (USD128 million) each year for constructing some 230 new outdoor lifts across the city. This is quite a commitment from the newly incumbent Chief, who has had a string of bad press and is facing a volatile public, two months into his term.
Hong Kong wealth
August 23, 2012
In a recent publication called the 2012 Wealth Report, Knight Frank Research and Citi Private Bank made the bold prediction that by the year 2050, the wealthiest four economies measured by GDP per capita would be in Asia. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea will stand atop the world, with the United States ringing in 5th. By 2050 Hong Kong’s GDP per capita is projected to be USD116,639, a whopping 157 percent increase over the 2010 figure of USD45,301. Before we start salivating over our predicted future wealth, however, we must first consider the many challenges of realizing this level of economic growth in a sustainable way.