‘Nice bridge, but where’s the sky?’


Fourth Pearl River Delta conference, "Addressing energy and the environment", Guangzhou, Friday, 23 September 2005

Dr Thomas Tang attended as a senior advisor to the Business Environment Council, an independent cross-sector business association in Hong Kong advocating environmental and sustainable development.

On clear days, the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge can be seen in dramatic, sharp relief against crystal-blue skies, linking Kowloon and Lantau Island over Ma Wan Channel and taking road and rail traffic to and from Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok. But on the day the photo was taken, it was cloaked under choking smog, proving a useful tool for Dr Tang.

Dr Tang was co-moderator at one of six breakout sessions at the Fourth Pearl River Delta conference, Session IA, which revolved around addressing energy and the environment *.

The Pearl River Delta is widely recognised as the fastest growing region of the world’s fastest growing economy. In recent years, the PRD Economic Zone of Guangdong Province alone has accounted for more than one-third of all China’s trade.

Discussion at the conference session focused on addressing the question, “How do we solve the problems of energy shortage and deteriorating environment that come with growth?”

He was aided in his moderating duties by Toh Han Shih, of the SCMP. The panel consisted of Betty Yuen, managing director of CLP Power Hong Kong, Li Zisen, chief engineer of the Environmental Protection Bureau of Guangdong Province, and James Graham, chief executive of Jardine Engineering Corporation.

The SCMP and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce have jointly organised the Pearl River Delta Conference each year since 2002.

The conference brings together influential thinkers from academia, government and the business community, with the aim of providing a practical approach to how PRD businesses — be they small or medium enterprises, multinationals, or locally-owned corporations — can benefit from their involvement in the delta.

This year’s conference entitled, “Growth and Its Consequences” was held at the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, of which Hong Kong is a part.

At least 400 speakers and delegates from Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangdong took part, looking at the fastest-growing economy in the region and the problems and challenges and opportunities that this growth has brought to businesses.