Perspective

Coal-powered electric vehicles
October 10, 2012
New research from the The Norwegian University of Science and Technology study suggests that electric cars may be worse for the environment than petrol or diesel-powered cars. This could mean China’s ambitious plans to promote plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) could make things worse rather than better. What’s the problem? PEVs rely on mains electricity to run, and most of the world’s electricity still comes from unsustainable sources. The study found the impact – especially on greenhouse gas emissions - even worse when coal is the main source of power generation, and China relies on coal for over 80 percent of its electricity.
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.
Ralls Corp's wind farm on disputed territory
October 03, 2012
US President Barack Obama is to be sued by a Chinese-owned wind farm company. In another nasty twist to US/China trade relations Ralls Corp – which is part owned by Sany Group, China’s biggest machinery maker – says it plans to sue the president over the unconstitutional act of blocking a wind farm near to a US navy test site in Oregon. In fact four sites came under Obama's edict that their operation by Ralls was considered to be a security risk based on a report by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Southeast Asia renewables
October 02, 2012
The South-East Asia and Pacific region is blessed with abundant sources of 'green' energy — including sun, wind, water, biomass and geothermal — but governments are still not doing enough to harness them. The 30 countries in this part of the world are sitting just a few degrees below and above the equator, and enjoy an estimated 300 days of sunshine a year. Advances in photovoltaic (PV) technology mean that solar energy can be harnessed even on cloudy days during the rainy season.
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
Combined wind and solar farm
Read Full Story A few years ago the clean energy industry seemed to be entering a golden age of limitless growth and infinite potential, the arrival of a new Aquarian age of progressive environmental business. The arrival of the global financial crisis, coinciding with the failed Copenhagen climate talks, put an end to all that, writes Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, on the company's website.
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.
Suntech binned
August 21, 2012
The past two weeks have seen the Chinese solar energy pioneer Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd plunge into a downward spiral after revelations of questionable accounting, leaving the firm on the edge of financial collapse and its fate largely in the hands of Beijing.  But rather than rescue Suntech, Beijing should let the company collapse to send a message that it won't support companies that engage in such financial shenanigans.