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Hong Kong Adopts GHG Protocol for Building Sector

Hong Kong's government adopts guidelines for GHG accounting in its building sectors, and announces a "carbon audit" of 10 of its buildings.

On July 24th, Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department unveiled its Guidelines to Account for and Report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals for Buildings in Hong Kong. The launch ceremony was attended by 37 major organizations, including all of Hong Kong's major property developers. The attendees signed on to a Carbon Reduction Charter, which requires organizations to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions from building energy use and to take specific actions to reduce their carbon footprint.

The guidelines use the accounting framework in the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol's Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard as its foundation. The Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides a systematic and scientific approach to account and report greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. WRI's GHG Protocol team provided technical advice to the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department in developing these guidelines to assist in ensuring their consistency with international standards.

Hong Kong is the first Asian city to develop a national green buildings program based on the GHG Protocol; it is a major step forward in understanding and controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Additionally, the Hong Kong government will be one of the first governments in Asia to conduct a carbon audit of 10 of its buildings this year. Carbon audits of more than additional 100 public- and private-sector buildings are also planned for this year. According to the International Energy Agency, building use accounted for 72 percent of Hong Kong's GHG emissions, and 89 percent of its electricity use in 2004.

"Reducing the level of electricity consumed for operation of buildings is crucial to reducing our GHG emissions," said Secretary of Environment Edward Yau. Yau further noted the importance of private sector involvement in this initiative.

Yau also emphasized that the green buildings program will help Hong Kong’s overall environmental protection efforts. “Many GHG reduction measures can, in fact, help reduce air pollutant emissions and at the same time improve our air quality.”

In his 2007-08 policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang pledged to reduce the energy intensity of Hong Kong by at least 25 percent between 2005 and 2030. Since the building sector accounts for the majority of Hong Kong's electricity consumption, it will have a significant role in meeting this target.

<p>Attendees at the signing ceremony for the Carbon Reduction Charter</p>

Attendees at the signing ceremony for the Carbon Reduction Charter

WRI’s China Climate, Energy and Pollution Program Director Deborah Seligsohn signed the Charter on behalf of WRI, which uses the GHG Protocol to track and control its own emissions. She highlighted the excellent partnership between the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department and WRI and expressed the hope that the Hong Kong audit, methodology and charter program could become a model for other cities in the region.

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