Climate change solutions are in the basics

Thomas Tang on backchat - RTHK Radio 3

Business and regulators need to work together to set the conditions and implement solutions to tackle climate change

Thomas Tang, GIFT’s managing director, in his advisory capacity for the Business Environment Council in Hong Kong, emphasised the important role of fiscal measures like a carbon tax in achieving changes in business and individual behaviour.

He cited other cities where climate change was now firmly on the government's agenda and how Hong Kong could learn from such examples.

Dr Tang was invited to comment on climate change and what it meant for Hong Kong on RTHK’s Backchat Radio Programme. The show as aired on 1 June 2007, and followed a global conference held in the territory over May 29 to 31 that called for action from governments, businesses, communities and individuals – as well as the Hong Kong Government – to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The International Conference on Climate Change was the first time that the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change presented its most recent report, the Fourth Assessment Report, in its entirety. It also featured eminent scientists and climatologists, who presented papers on the subject of global climate change.

They had the first opportunity to comment on US President George W. Bush’s newly announced position on climate change prior to the G8 Summit in Germany.

Dr Tang said the government and policy makers must put measures in place that steer people towards certain lifestyles that eased greenhouse gas emissions, such as the implementation of a carbon tax: “Regulation like a carbon tax will really make the message very clear to individuals that climate change is serious.”

He described how Singapore had Climate Change Committee that was now looking in to energy efficiency and reducing energy use across the board, suggesting that this was a positive lead that other governments could follow.

He underlined the importance of governments setting the conditions and the framework that allowed businesses to respond positively. “Right now in Hong Kong there are no incentives for companies; there’s no reason they can’t respond with these conditions set, and it’s easy to see in the end that it’s beneficial to all,” he said.

Speaking on the programme with Dr Tang were climate change experts Sir Crispin Tickell, Jed Jones from Climate Change UK, and Liam Slater of WWF Hong Kong.