chapter  9
Climateers – pioneering a new response to climate change in Hong Kong?
Pages 21

Hong Kong, referred to colloquially as the ‘pearl of the orient’, stands out as one of the dense nodes of light that mark China’s coastal cities on NASA’s nowfamiliar image of the earth at night. Situated in the Pearl River Delta, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passed from British governance in 1987 to form a semi-autonomous part of the Chinese state. A thriving commercial and business centre, the governance of Hong Kong has been characterized as ‘a topdown central government with a neoliberal market environment that fosters a powerful business sector’ (Chu and Schroeder 2010: 289). Within this context, the local state has focused on economic growth rather than sustainability or ecological modernization (Gouldson et al. 2008). However, during the 2000s, as the Chinese central government sought to develop a low carbon economy in response to climate change while business interests and non-state actors in the city simultaneously began to mobilize for action, there has been a gradual shift in this position. During this period, the Hong Kong government began to accumulate a ‘significant body of scientific, technological and economic climate change knowledge by commissioning a series of consultancy reports’ (Francesch-Huidobro 2012: 1), and initial discussions on the relevance of addressing climate change were held in the Legislative Council (Chu and Schroeder 2010). In 2008, an Inter-departmental Working Group on Climate Change was established, and in 2010 the Environment Bureau published a consultation document setting out, for the first time, the actions required within Hong Kong. Acknowledging the scale and importance of the challenge, the report identified changes in the energy supply mix that powers Hong Kong, proposing to address it primarily by importing nuclear electricity from new power stations in China. At the time of writing, no further changes have been made on that position.