Climate governance and zero carbon mobility in Hong Kong: Engineering challenges and way forward

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A critical analysis of the government’s Hong Kong Climate Action Plan 2050 (CAP2050) reveals numerous challenges related to key engineering processes of net zero and how the reductions from each policy action could add up to the overall emission reduction target as examined in Civic Exchange’s 2022 Research Report. In the mobility sector specifically, however, the Hong Kong Roadmap on Popularisation of Electric Vehicles in 2021 did not provide the technological plans of franchised bus fleet decarbonisation. Critical engineering challenges are also relating to the approaches of banning the internal combustion engine (ICE) private cars by 2035 as targeted by the government.


In order to provide better visibility in climate governance and efficiently overcome the challenges, the government should (1) enhance Hong Kong energy end-use data disclosure, consolidating energy consumption by fuel with statistics published by the Census and Statistics Department; detailed information on emission reduction from each policy measure against the overall emission reduction commitment; (2) enhance the transparency of the Steering Committee on Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality, by publishing its agendas, minutes and papers, including the publication of the roles and agenda for each department regarding climate mitigation and/or adaptation, annual targets and achievements of emission mitigation of all government departments; (3) conduct a feasibility study on a legal framework for climate action, and (4) establish regional engineering collaborations on cleaner, lower carbon, and reliable emerging green technologies.


In terms of an engineering pathway to zero-carbon mobility, a full decarbonisation plan should be set up to address the key challenges, including approaches to green vehicle technology, refueling infrastructure, regulatory framework, and funding model. In this regard, the government could engage itself in (i) setting an appropriate engineering roadmap and investment strategy to achieve a quantified modal shift target for green public transport; (ii) enlarging the scale of trials for both battery and hydrogen fuel cell buses; (iii) removing the regulatory barriers for green technology development; and (iv) identifying areas requiring cross engineering actions for the relevant green transport infrastructure development.


In short, the HKSAR Government, in concerted actions with all stakeholders, should adopt a holistic approach to resources and green innovation to strengthen the city’s capability to transition to zero-carbon mobility.


This article is contributed by Ir Dr Alex Gbaguidi with the coordination of the Environmental Division.

Explore Hong Kong Engineer