Governing for the People
Building a Liveable City
158. Hong Kong is making vigorous efforts to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and reduce its carbon emission by 50 per cent before 2035 as compared with the level in 2005. To strengthen co-ordination and promote deep decarbonisation, the EEB has set up the Office of Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality in January this year. A Council for Carbon Neutrality and Sustainable Development will also be formed to advise on decarbonisation strategies.
Green Tech Fund
159. In the past few Budgets, I allocated resources in support of efforts to address climate change. Last year, I injected an additional funding of $200 million into the GTF, doubling the provision to $400 million. The GTF received overwhelming responses from applicants, and 22 projects from local universities, designated public research institutes and private enterprises have been approved. These research projects involve technologies for the cell storage and generation of hydrogen fuel; manufacturing of biochar-enhanced construction materials; and air cleaning system for reducing roadside air pollution.
New Energy Transport
160. The Government has set the target of introducing about 700 electric buses and 3 000 electric taxis by end‑2027. We will earmark $200 million under the New Energy Transport Fund for progressively commencing trials of hydrogen fuel cell electric double‑deck buses and heavy vehicles within this year in collaboration with franchised bus companies and other stakeholders to fully assess their operational feasibility under local circumstances. We have also set aside $350 million to provide subsidies to four in‑harbour ferry operators for the construction and trials of electric ferries and the related charging facilities, with a view to testing the technical and commercial viability of using electric ferries in Hong Kong. The trials are expected to commence in 2024.
161. Moreover, the Government will put in place a loan scheme with 100% guarantee for the taxi trade as an incentive for taxi owners to replace their existing taxis with battery electric taxis. It is estimated that the proposed measure will involve a loan guarantee of about $6.4 billion. The details of the scheme will be announced in due course.
Food Waste Reduction
162. Food waste accounts for 30 per cent of municipal solid waste disposed of at landfills. In 2023-24, we will allocate an additional funding of $62 million to gradually expand the scope of food waste collection to cover more public and private premises, including food establishments, markets, hotels, large shopping malls, etc. The food waste collection trial scheme for public rental housing estates will also be extended to cover a total of 100 blocks, involving about 150 000 residents. Through these measures, we can not only reduce the volume of odorous food waste disposed of at landfills, but also deliver the food waste to the Organic Resources Recovery Centre for conversion into renewable energy.
163. In the next two to three years, the AFCD will gradually enhance facilities in country parks and explore ideas such as providing treetop adventure, repairing wartime relics and turning them into open museums. As at end-2022, 33 projects involving a total grant of $165 million have been approved under the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme to support non-profit making organisations in carrying out countryside conservation and revitalisation projects at different levels ranging from natural environment or ecological habitats, non-graded built heritage to cultural and historic assets.
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