Achieving Environmental Sustainability through Fiscal Policy
- Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Julsuchada Sirisom, Hope Ashiabor and Janet E. Milne
Chapter 10: Enhancing Green Tax Measures Concerning Energy Use in Hong Kong
Yuzhu Lu I. INTRODUCTION Hong Kong, a compact city with a population of seven million and with few natural resources, has undergone remarkable economic growth over the past few decades. Hong Kong is a regional centre for international business, and its economy consists almost entirely of trade and services. At the same time, however, the city has developed severe environmental problems, especially referring to its air pollution and climate change problems. The high average temperature and continuous rising sea level in Hong Kong are convincing evidence of its climate change problem: according to the Hong Kong Observatory, the average temperature in Hong Kong is rising at rate of 1.2°C per 100 years; the rate has accelerated to 0.28°C per decade between 1980 and 2009; and the records of Hong Kong’s tide gauge station show that the mean sea level in the Victoria Harbour has risen at an average rate of 2.4 mm per year during the period 1954 to 2008.1 Referring to air pollution in Hong Kong, the air quality monitoring data show that the ambient air quality has worsened on average by 13–47% (by comparing monitoring data between 1990 and 2008) for some pollutants. ‘Reduced visibility’ days, deﬁned as those with a visibility of less than 8 km and relative humidity not exceeding 80%, increased by 207% between 1997 and 2006.2 Transport emissions and emissions from heating and energy generation are the main sources of the air pollution and greenhouse gases in Hong Kong, except...
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