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Climate Change Conference in Paris

The Climate Change Conference in Paris has come to a close. Nearly 200 countries have reached a new agreement on global climate change, a historic and landmark achievement that marks the beginning of a new era. This legally binding agreement limits the rise of global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and strives for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. In order to slow down global warming, the economic model based on fossil fuels will need to be changed in the coming decades.

Environmental protection is one of the four policy priorities of the current-term Government. In early November (November 6), we released the Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015, focusing on how to address extreme weather. Working towards an ambitious emission reduction target, we plan to reduce the carbon intensity by 50 per cent to 60 per cent by 2020, using 2005 as the base.

Climate warming is a global issue as well as a local one. Hong Kong people cannot stay aloof. To achieve our target for carbon reduction, the Government, the business sector and individuals must not shirk their responsibilities. The Government has both the right and the obligation to formulate and implement the relevant laws and policies. All enterprises, large or small, have the social responsibility of going an extra mile besides meeting the relevant requirements. All people in Hong Kong need to raise their awareness of carbon reduction and take action to go green. As such, I shall instruct the Environment Bureau and the Education Bureau to carry out publicity and educational work in the community and schools so that members of the public will be aware of how the challenges and crises of climate change will affect them and how important it is for every individual to participate in the carbon reduction campaign.

December 13, 2015