CARE2022 Hong Kong Conference

A Summary Report and Policy Recommendations HONG KONG CONFERENCE CARE2022 FEBRUARY 2023

B Contents Preface. ..............................................................................................................................................................................................1 Obsevations and Recomendations........................................................................................................................................ 2 CHAPTER 1 COP26 to COP27 & Design of CARE2022. .............................................................................................. 7 CHAPTER 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future”.................................................................................. 11 CHAPTER 3 Government Panel on Adaptation and Resilience.......................................................................... 19 CHAPTER 4 Nexus between Mitigation and Adaptation...................................................................................... 34 CHAPTER 5 Preparedness and Resilience................................................................................................................. 43 CHAPTER 6 Financing the Climate Transition.......................................................................................................... 65 CHAPTER 7 Workshop: Scholars’ Day...........................................................................................................................77 Abbreviations .............................................................................................................................................................................. 83 Acknowledgements.................................................................................................................................................................. 84

1 Preface Climate Adaptation and Resilience Conference 2022 (CARE2022) carried forward what we started in 2018 with the first major event focussed on adaptation in Hong Kong. We focussed on adaptation because it was a neglected topic. There used to be much more interest in climate mitigation although both aspects are equally important in light of the changing climate. Adaptation took centre stage internationally at COP27 in 2022, and we expect the theme to continue at COP28 in 2023. In 2018, we were grateful to have the support of two Bureaux and five Departments of the HKSAR Government working closely with us. In 2022, we had the support of four Bureaux and nine Departments plus three financial regulatory bodies, together with business and professional organizations. It was a demonstration that climate change issues have gained broad and high-level attention in Hong Kong – a positive sign. A conference is a moment in time for a gathering of people to engage each other on specific issues. A conference’s success needs to be judged by what follows. From 2018 to 2022 (despite COVID years in between), we could see Hong Kong’s continuing progress on climate science research, further planning and implementation of various adaptation related infrastructure projects; and significant efforts from financial policymakers and regulators. While some gaps are being filled, others are still awaiting attention. We hope CARE2022 had stimulated enthusiasm to push forward on a broad front. This post-conference report summarizes the three days of CARE2022. The main purpose of this report is to highlight where we have observed gaps that need attention. Our hope at HKUST is that we will focus on some of the gaps within our competence to continue to engage with the HKSAR Government and others in a collaborative spirit because the challenge presented by climate change is so large and urgent. Our sponsors for both 2018 and 2022 are major enterprises in Hong Kong, some of whom have businesses beyond Hong Kong. They are important and influential in the climate challenge and we are grateful for their continuing support. We look forward to continuing pushing ahead at HKUST with the support of stakeholders to stimulate the IMPACT needed for Hong Kong to achieve carbon neutrality and be resilient against extreme weather. Christine LOH Chi Ming SHUN Alexis LAU CARE2022 Co-Chairpersons, Organising Committee

2 Observations and Recommendations The following Observations and Recommendations include those in Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6. We hope they contribute to deliberation by the HKSAR Government and help all interested stakeholders in Hong Kong. We welcome comments and stand ready to support Hong Kong’s climate and sustainability transition. I: Nexus between Mitigation and Adaptation Climate mitigation and adaptation are intimately related. Development projects must therefore consider them together. This means a wide range of government Bureaux and Departments need to be involved to align policies. It also needs the steer of the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary who can take the broadest possible view. The government’s role is vital in adaptation because extreme weather events affect the community. Only the government has the capacity, policy tools and financial means to deal with long-term horizons, as well as to build defensive infrastructure. Dealing with climate change requires policies that invariably run up against cost/benefit calculations, concerns over effectiveness of interventions, and achieving equity across society. The government should be transparent about these policies and engage with stakeholders on the trade-offs as part of their decision-making. This will increase public understanding and improve governance. II: General Observations Broadly speaking, 12 observations arise from CARE2022: 1. The climate and sustainability transition affects the entire economy, and the transition will be sustained for decades to come because it is a global transition. Hong Kong’s development projects offer mitigation and adaptation opportunities can stimulate private sector investment, talent development, and job creation. 2. Hong Kong’s policy planning and design processes should explicitly aim to optimize mitigation and adaptation opportunities. Given the importance of the climate and sustainability transition, stronger mainstreaming within the HKSAR Government is necessary and should lead to all Bureaux and Departments considering the impact of these issues on their responsibilities and opportunities. 3. Hong Kong’s has carried out outstanding adaptation in slope management and flood prevention – two major risks for the city – backed by strong meteorological science. 4. While sea level rise is a challenge for coastal regions, the risks from it are less imminent than risks from landslides and flooding for Hong Kong. Decisions must, however, be made on designing sufficient margins of safety for coastal defensive infrastructure for the short to medium term and the details explained. 5. The significant policy gap is on buildings regulation. This needs to be urgently reviewed and upgraded to meet both Hong Kong’s 2035 carbon reduction target and its 2050 carbon neutrality goal. Buildings must be more resource and energy efficient and better able to cope with extreme heat. 6. New regulatory standards for mitigation and adaptation invariably run up against queries on cost/benefits calculations, effectiveness of interventions, and achieving equity across society. It is unclear what are the trade-offs in areas where the government has been acting and where it has not. For example, why hasn’t more progress been made on reducing energy consumption in buildings given they consume 90% of the electricity causing 60% of the carbon emissions.

3 7. The climate and sustainability transition must be relatable to people. The government is responsible for identifying vulnerable locations and vulnerable groups, as well as to continue to refine Hong Kong’s early warning systems and emergency response plans to reduce extreme weather risks. The government must also work with districts and NGOs to raise public awareness to climate risks, and to engage the community in strengthening preparedness. 8. The ‘greening’ of finance requires a better understanding of physical climate risks, and how these risks could be translated into specific financial value for the city in a credible way. While this is a challenging task, it offers significant opportunities to strengthen Hong Kong’s ability to provide international professional services and be a leading finance centre in the climate and sustainability transition era. 9. Training talent for the climate and sustainability era benefits the whole economy, not just financial services, as the relevant knowledge is needed for the transformation of all activities in the public and private sectors. 10. Policymakers have yet to fully embrace ways in which I&T can be applied to deliver in multiple modes, such as the merging of Green-Climate-Prop-FinTech through digitalisation. That said, Hong Kong’s public and private sectors are already major investors in climate and environmentally related I&T, where Hong Kong is a leader in some areas. 11. The climate and transition era will be global providing the opportunity for Hong Kong’s work on climate adaptation and I&T to strengthen its overall Brand by developing appropriate narratives. 12. Hong Kong needs to communicate and engage more effectively with stakeholders for its efforts to be understood and appreciated. The HKSAR Government has considerable support from academia, professionals, corporates, and NGOs working on the climate and sustainability transition. Engagement between the government and stakeholders through well-design-andcurated deliberations can be mutually rewarding. III: Based on Presentations by Bureaux and Departments Observations 1. Hong Kong’s public sector has strong climate science and engineering skills developed to deal with risks arising from its hilly topography, subtropical climate, and exposure to typhoons. Its techniques and management methods represent a valuable body of tested solutions. 2. The public seldom see or hear about government work in an integrated, cross-disciplinary manner. The extent of government work is impressive and interesting - more publicity can help to generate public buy-in if properly narrated and presented. 3. Seeing and hearing government work across Bureaux and Departments enables the identification of gaps and tradeoffs that need further articulation and deliberation. 4. The government is a major investor in climate and sustainability related I&T that could be properly narrated and presented for both mitigation and adaptation. 5. Young people are clearly interested in climate and sustainability. They expressed an interest to be involved, which presents opportunities for the HKSAR Government to respond although they did not say how they thought they could be engaged. Recommendations A. Hong Kong’s government leaders tend to focus on branding its economic prowess in financial services, tourism, trading and logistics, and professional and producer services. Hong Kong’s capabilities in climate solutions can be developed into a new narrative of economic, professional, finance and I&T strengths to suit the current era. Observations and Recommendations

4 B. The Steering Committee on Climate Change and Carbon Neutrality chaired by the Chief Executive is the right place for Bureaux and Departments to present their work periodically in an integrated-interdisciplinary manner so that the Chief Executive could have a thorough understanding of the work being done, and for the Financial Secretary to see how funding allocations have been spent. This committee is the right platform for the HKSAR Government to mainstream climate as a major cross-cutting topic within the bureaucracy. By mainstreaming within such a setting, it should also stimulate all Bureaux to consider how they could use Hong Kong’s climate capabilities and solutions to promote the city. For example: • Financial Services and Treasury Bureau improving cooperation with Hong Kong’s scientific and engineering experts to assist the financial sector’s assessment of climate risks in financial terms on an on-going basis (see Chapters 4, and 6 for further elaboration). • Commerce and Economic Development Bureau using climate and sustainability I&T solutions as part of its Belt & Road promotion. • Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau sharing Hong Kong’s climate efforts and capabilities with the regional and national governments since climate change is a top policy agenda. • Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau including Green-ClimateTech and innovation within its scope of work. The government is spending considerable sums to develop and use such technologies, some of which are co-developed with local R&D capabilities (see Chapter 6 which goes further with the integration of Green-Climate-Prop-FinTech). Those efforts are expanding and deepening local capacities that could have use beyond Hong Kong if properly supported and promoted. C. Climate and sustainability have become a soughtafter topic at schools and universities. Bureaux and Departments can reconsider how they can integrate climate and sustainability into their outreach, in particular Home Affairs and Youth Bureau, to engage youth. Observations and Recommendations IV: Based on Workshop A on the Nexus between Mitigation and Adaptation Observations 1. Cross-cutting, multi-and-interdisciplinary deliberations and dialogues are essential for co-learning and problemsolving. Designing and conducting these dialogues can progress exploration of issues, where there are different perspectives, methods, and views. 2. There is a great desire among professionals and institutions for appropriate platforms for convening colearning and problem-solving dialogues across sectors, including with government and regulators at both the senior and working levels. 3. Barriers to sustaining engagements include the lack of time, focus and resources for the planning, design, curating and convening of neutral spaces for dialogue. Everyone wishes someone else could rally stakeholders. 4. Green-ClimateTech emerges as a major innovation area. The public, private and academic sectors are already investing hugely in this, but it has yet to receive adequate attention from the authorities engaged in policy making. Moreover, managing the climate transition requires largescale digitalisation. Recommendations A. Institutions in Hong Kong should coordinate and cooperate to divide up the work required to convene cross-cutting dialogues. B. Bureaux and Departments should consider how they could organize themselves to enable various institutions to convene and/or participate in such periodic dialogue to exploring issues. Two topics on which new dialogue platforms with government involvement could be developed now: a) Policies for developing and funding adaptation to counter landslide, flood, and sea level rise risks. This could be hosted by an appropriate financial regulatory or management institution. Its objective would be

5 a deeper understanding of risk assessments and accident prevention plans relevant to these major risks in Hong Kong. b) Built environment, which could be hosted by an appropriate institution for the property development and management sector together with the financial services sector to exchange views on what it takes for them to meet the climate transition for new and existing buildings, as well as cityscape, together with relevant Bureaux and Departments, and how largescale plans could be financed. C. Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau may wish to consider the importance of Green-ClimateTech in light of the local, national and global attention to achieving the climate transition (see Chapter 6 on the broader integration of Green-Climate-Prop-FinTech). V: Based on Workshop B on Emergencies, Security, Health, Water, Heat Stress, and Regional Collaboration Observations 1. Measures to tackle one issue may conflict with another. For example, moving car parks underground save space but for high-risk properties along the coast, it may increase the risk of inundation due to storm surges. 2. Institutions operating critical infrastructures (energy, airport) consider the worst-case scenarios in their climate projections for adaptation and resilience planning, such as very high GHG emissions, high temperature of 45ºC, and up to ~2.5 m sea level rise by 2100. Other decision-makers adopt intermediate GHG emissions scenarios for their planning of less critical infrastructures and facilities. 3. Companies and users in different sectors of activities have varying circumstances with respect to adaptation and resilience, and assess their risks based on different parameters and probabilities, including the effectiveness and costs involved. 4. The entire Pearl River Delta is a flood-prone area. Extreme weather events could disrupt regional transport networks and supply chains. Droughts, such as in 1963, would have regional impact on water resources. 5. Hong Kong people’s awareness and preparedness for disasters is relatively low (~25%) according to a Hong Kong Red Cross survey in 2021. With respect to electricity supply, end-to-end resilience will require actions on the part of users. 6. More data and research are needed to identify different types of risks and the high risk locations, the vulnerable groups affected, the range of intervention measures, better early warning strategies and what the public could do for self-help. 7. In addition to urban planning, green building designs can contribute to ‘Cooling Hong Kong’ as buildings are a major source of urban heat especially in high-density districts. Recommendations A. Government Bureaux and Departments and academia can collaborate to identify the data and knowledge gaps needed on the various climate risks, including heat (a neglected focus), with the aim of filling those gaps to enable the authorities to set evidence-based policies, including unknown tertiary climate risks in Hong Kong but have happened elsewhere. B. The Government, public utilities, NGOs, and the private sector should collaborate to intensify public understanding of risks and be prepared to play clearly articulated roles in emergency action plans. Greater attention should be paid to identifying vulnerable groups, including occupants in sub-standard accommodation. C. Codes of practices, guidelines and regulatory requirements need to be reviewed holistically and upgraded for both climate mitigation and adaptation, and this is especially critical for development in low-lying ground and along the coastline, as well as buildings. Observations and Recommendations

6 D. Consideration should be given to Hong Kong’s response to possible larger-magnitude disasters and multi-hazard scenarios (e.g. severe storm surge, landslides and flooding occurring at the same time), such as whether public sector buildings and facilities could be deployed as emergency centres and temporary shelters. E. Greater transparency is need for actions being considered and planned with respect to adaptation for the whole of the GBA. All parts of the region have an interest in better regional resilience. Consideration should be given to whether a GBA collaborative mechanism should be established for adaptation and resilience. VI. Based on Presentations and Discussions on Risk Assessment, Data, Industrial Transformation, Innovation & Technology, Talent, and Collaboration Observations 1. Collaboration is essential across public and private sector stakeholders because climate change and sustainability are complex and require the fusion of different knowledge fields to understand how to achieve strong performance in the economy. 2. Hong Kong’s economy needs to expand talent and capability in environmental science and sustainability in general, not just with respect to green finance since finance complements other activities in the economy. 3. The drive to achieve carbon neutrality and sustainability requires organizations to collect, assess, analyse and manage data through digital means. Technology is evolving and fusing “Green-Climate-Prop-FinTech” with implications across the economy, including the government sector. 4. Companies in traditional industries, such as energy, property, manufacturing, shipping, banking etc are becoming digital, and digital companies are becoming consulting services to helping others use data and digital technologies. 5. Standard setting and best practices could come out of Asia, as the circumstances of Asia’s development going forward are different from those in developed economies. Recommendations A. Mainstreaming climate and sustainability within the government bureaucracy would help the HKSAR Government to enable officers in I&T, environment, housing, planning and development, education as well as infrastructure to work more closely with those in industry, commerce, I&T, transport, and finance because climate and sustainability represent a powerful, long-term global and national overarching driver of change (see also Chapters 3, 4 and 5) B. Internal mainstreaming should be complemented by external communication to enable the work of the HKSAR Government to be better understood by the public and private sector stakeholders (see Chapters 3, 4 and 5). C. The newly created Office of the Commissioner for Climate Change under EEB could be the government unit that coordinates the mainstreaming and proper communication of the government’s climate related work in a broad and compelling way. Observations and Recommendations

7 CHAPTER 1 COP26 to COP27 & Design of CARE2022 Cross-cutting, transparent, and inclusive This chapter refers to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process1 to provide a brief update of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) in 2021 (COP26) and in 2022 (COP27) with specific relevance to climate adaptation. It also explains how CARE2022 was designed and the outcomes it sought to achieve with inspiration from COP27. UNFCCC process The UNFCCC process includes annual gatherings of the Parties to discuss on-going issues under the multilateral treaty on climate change. The current treaty, Paris Agreement (2015), went into force in 2016 succeeding the Kyoto Protocol.2 A key provision of the Paris Agreement is for mitigation efforts to be made for global temperatures to stay within 2°C and to strive for 1.5°C, of the pre-industrial level. Since 2015, the latest scientific references point to a preference to staying within 1.5°C to minimize devastating climate change. Another key treaty provision is climate adaptation. As global warming is already causing more frequent and more extreme weather events worldwide, concurrent efforts are also needed to improve societal resilience against such extremes, especially as the global temperature is already almost at 1.1°C above pre-industrial level and the 1.5°C target could well be missed. The UNFCCC process is supported by a large group of scientists from around the world who provide on-going, indepth scientific knowledge to inform policymakers, known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).3 During 2021-2022, the IPCC published its Sixth Assessment Reports (AR6): Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis; Climate Change 2022: Impact, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities; and Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change.4 Moreover, the technical approaches adopted by the UNFCCC process has strong ideals that all such processes on a national and local basis should also strive for – that they be open, transparent, cross-cutting, and inclusive.5 Climate Change: Conference of the Parties 2021 and 2022 The threat of climate change is widely accepted by governments around the world, but progress remains slow. The essential message of COP27 that took place in Egypt (6-19 November 2022) was that there was an urgent need to catch up in both climate mitigation and adaptation. A key outcome of COP27 was the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund – the culmination of decades of pressure from climate-vulnerable developing countries. The fund aims to provide financial assistance to nations most impacted by the effects of climate change. Climate adaptation, such as building sea walls, preventing landslides, and creating droughtresistant crops, could cost developing countries US$160-340 billion annually by 2030, which could swell to US$565 billion by 2050 should global warming accelerates.6 In 2015, the Paris Agreement established the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) with the aim of driving collective action on climate adaptation. At COP26 that took place in Glasgow in 2021, among its various decisions, was a two-year work program on the GGA, as work towards adaptation had languished.7 The GGA discussion at COP27 was considered a success with governments agreeing on the way to move forward at COP28 on improving resilience among the most vulnerable countries with some measure of financial pledges to help adaptation solutions.8

8 The details of the work from COP27 to COP28 in 2023 are technical in nature and centres around taking a “structured approach” that included vulnerability and risk assessments, adaptation planning, knowledge transfer, finance, and monitoring and evaluation, with themes covering various topics including cities, oceans and coastal ecosystems, health, food, and water. The GGA’s approach as part of the UNFCCC’s process should be open, transparent, cross-cutting, and inclusive with sources of information coming from various IPCC and other authoritative reports, and that there would be several deliberative workshops to agree on issues. Reports are expected at COP28 in 2023 scheduled to be held in Dubai. It should also be noted that close to the time of COP27, other important gatherings took place where climate change was also prominently featured – these included G20 held in Indonesia (15-16 November 2022)9, and APEC held in Thailand (19 November 2022)10, where the relevant governments highlighted the risks associated with climate change and the need for international cooperation. Biodiversity: Conference of the Parties 2021 and 2022 It would have been remiss of CARE2022 to ignore the first part of COP15 (of the UN Conference of the Parties under the Convention of Biological Diversity) relating to biodiversity that was held in Kunming in 2021, and that the second part would be held a few days after CARE2022 in Montreal 2022.11 While biodiversity was not the key focus of CARE2022, it was included in one of the plenaries and one of the workshops on Day 1. The concept of climate resilience requires healthy ecosystems and the protection of biodiversity, and that the topics considered by the climate and biodiversity multilateral treaties were merging. Survey of global risks The World Economic Forum noted in its Global Risks Report 2023 a survey of business leaders how they saw major risks arising in the next 2 years and 10 years – climate and environment risks were prominently featured.12 FIGURE 1.1 Top 10 Risks, Global Risks Report 2023 1 Cost of living crisis 2 Natural disasters and extreme weather events 3 Geoeconomic confrontation 4 Failure to mitigate climate change 5 Erosion of social cohension and societal polarization 6 Large-scale environmental damage incidents 7 Failure of climate-change adaption 8 Widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity 9 Natural resource crisis 10 Large-scale involuntary migration 2 Years 1 Failure to mitigate climate change 2 Failure of climate-change adaption 3 Natural disasters and extreme weather events 4 Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse 5 Large-scale involuntary migration 6 Natural resource crises 7 Erosion of social cohesion and societal polarization 8 Widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity 9 Geoeconomic confrontation 10 Large-scale environmental damage incidents 10 Years “Please estimate the likely impact (severity) of the following risks over a 2-year and 10-year period.” Source: World Economic Forum, Global Risks Perception Survey 2022-2023 Economic Environmental Geopolitical Societal Technological 1 COP26 to COP27 & Design of CARE2022

9 CARE2022 and COP27 CARE2022 was designed to focus primarily on adaptation but with due emphasis on the nexus with mitigation since the two are so intimately connected. The role of government to speedup the climate transformation to Net Zero is essential because decarbonizing the economy and providing infrastructure and systems for societies to be resilient against extreme weather events require consistent long-term policies. CARE2022 took inspiration from the UNFCCC process to be open, transparent, cross-cutting, and inclusive. CARE2022 invited the HKSAR Government to discuss their adaptation plans in an open, transparent and cross-cutting manner so that there could be a more fulsome picture of how the work of various Bureaux and Departments aligned with each other, while pointing to the need for continuous mitigation, and the need for both mitigation and adaptation to be considered in the planning and implementation of major development projects in Hong Kong. Moreover, CARE2022 included considerations in finance policies since finance is a critical enabler for both mitigation and adaptation. The design of the climate science plenary and the HKSAR Government adaptation plenary on Day 1, the two Workshops on Day 1, and the design for Day 3 sought to be cross-cutting and as inclusive as possible to bring together areas of knowledge and experience that had not been brought together before, as the climate change must involve them all. Breadth vs. Depth The CARE2022 design provided breadth of climate policy issues. Presenters were invited to articulate their most important messages within the shortest time so that related issues could be presented alongside each other. While registration was open for participation for the plenaries and the two Workshops on Day 1, the organizers made considerable effort to invite knowledgeable individuals and institutions, including youth, to participate so that there could be an appreciation of the breadth of issues involved, as well as stimulating exchange of views particularly at the Workshops. The Workshops also provided opportunities for networking for presenters and participants. Broadening networks was an aim of CARE2022, as Hong Kong society would need many more institutions to take up deliberation of the climate challenge. As for depth, Day 2 provided a chance for university scholars to exchange views based on their work related to adaptation. Moreover, other institutions were organising climate-related events that HKUST scholars participated in. Special mention must be given to Hong Kong Observatory (HKO). During the early design stage of CARE2022, and in discussing the involvement of the HKSAR Government, HKO decided to organize Climate Science Webinar event the weekend after CARE2022 (17 December 2022) to note the outcomes of CARE2022 and to go into depth on specific issues. Conference participation data The plenaries on Day 1 were conducted in hybrid mode, while the two workshops in the afternoon were designed for in-person interactions. The presentations and discussions on Day 2 were designed for scholars to showcase their work, which provided a measure of depth, and the conference on Day 3 on Risks, Data, Finance, and Technology was by invitation for in-person participation because of the constrain of the venue but there was online viewing. The three-day CARE2022 Conference has attracted wide spread interest with a thousand participants joining the event physically and virtually. All presentations are video-recorded and shared online, and have received 2,500 views as of February 2023. 1 COP26 to COP27 & Design of CARE2022

10 1. For details about the UNFCCC and its process, see 2. For details about the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol, see https:// 3. For details about IPCC, see 4. For details about the 6th Assessment Reports, see: 5. For an example of the approach, see resource/GST%20TD1_1_sreport_26_09_2022_Final.pdf. 6. For Loss and Damage Fund, see story/cop27-ends-announcement-historic-loss-and-damage-fund. 7. For background of GGA, see 8. For a brief summary, see 9. See the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, gtwenty_new/about_g20/previous-summit-documents/2022-bali/G20%20 Bali%20Leaders%27%20Declaration,%2015-16%20November%202022.pdf. 10. See the relevant documents from APEC 2022, news-releases/2022/apec-leaders-issue-2022-declaration-and-the-bangkokgoals-on-the-bio-circular-green-economy. 11. For details of COP15, see 12. World Economic Forum, 11 January 2023, agenda/2023/01/these-are-the-biggest-risks-facing-the-world-globalrisks-2023/. 1 COP26 to COP27 & Design of CARE2022

11 CHAPTER 2 CLIMATE SCIENCE – “OUR CLIMATE IS OUR FUTURE” Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe because of human activities. The Opening Plenary of CARE2022 on Day1 focussed on the latest climate science at the global and regional/local levels. Climate Science Plenary Prof. Petteri TAALAS Secretary General, WMO Prof. Panmao ZHAI Co-chair, IPCC Working Group I on The Physical Science Basis Dr. Cho Ming CHENG, JP Director, HKO WATCH VIDEO Petteri Taalas, WMO Climate science - global Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Prof. Panmao Zhai, Co-chair of IPCC Working Group I on The Physical Science Basis, provided summarizes of the IPCC AR6 reports, which called for the rapid transformation of societies as the world was falling short of the climate goals set in the Paris Agreement. Their key messages were directly relevant to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA): • The World Economic Forum in June 2022 considered climate action failures and extreme weather to be the top two biggest risks for the global economy for the coming 10 years. • There has already been 1.09°C warming (2011-2020) since pre-industrial times (1850-1900) and that 2017-2021 were the warmest years on earth. Ocean temperatures has also been rising.

12 • Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C (as per the Paris Agreement) will be exceeded unless deep reductions in CO2 and other GHGs occur in the coming decades. The current best estimate is that the global air temperature will rise by about 2.5°C to 3°C above the pre-industrial level by the end of this century. • 3°C global warming is a major risk for food security due to a loss of crop yield in most parts of the world. Water security will also be a major challenge due to global warming and population growth. • Global sea level has been rising at an increasing rate and given the current high GHG concentration level, melting of glaciers and sea level rise will continue in the coming hundreds of years. • To get on track, the world would need to reduce CO2 and other GHGs by unprecedented levels over this decade and emissions must continue to decline rapidly to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Even though the worst-case scenario of 3°C to 5°C warming previously projected by the Fifth Assessment of IPCC (AR5) might be avoided, there will still be a major challenge in mitigation. • Continued global warming is projected to intensify the global water cycle, including its variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events. • Heatwaves, heavy precipitation, and droughts are projected to be larger in frequency and intensity with every additional increment of global warming. • Every region will experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers at higher levels of global warming. Prof. Taalas also highlighted several global initiatives of the WMO in supporting the United Nations in combating climate change, including to achieve 100% implementation by WMO Members of multi-hazard early warning services and impactbased weather forecasting, enhancements of meteorological and hydrological observing systems, and monitoring of GHG in the atmosphere, and improvements of global climate modelling and prediction. 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” FIGURE 2.1 Observed global mean surface temperature change relative to 1850-1900 1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 -0.2 GMST Change ºC 0.00°C (1850-1900) 1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2020 Year Pre-industrial likely range 1.26°C (2020) 1.12-1.37 1.09°C (2011-2020) 0.95-1.20 0.85°C (1995-2014) 0.69-0.95 0.69°C (1986-2005) 0.54-0.79 0.58°C (1980-1999) 0.45-0.68 0.36°C (1961-1990) 0.23-0.44 0.23°C (1900-1999) 0.10-0.31

13 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” FIGURE 2.2 Projected global surface temperature change relative to 1850-1900 under the five GHG emissions scenarios considered by IPCC AR6 FIGURE 2.3 Range of projected global surface temperature change in 2100 relative to 1850-1900 under the Intermediate GHG emissions scenarios considered by IPCC AR6 5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 ºC 1950 2000 2015 2050 2100 CO2 emissions Very high High Intermediate Low Very low Near term Year 1.5ºC 5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 ºC 1950 2000 2015 2050 2100 CO2 emissions Intermediate Year 2ºC 2.7°C (in 2100) 2.1 to 3.5ºC FIGURE 2.4 Percentage change in agricultural crop yields by 2050 -50 -20 0 +20 +50 +100 No data change (%)

14 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” Prof. Panmao Zhai also emphasised the impact of climate change on cities around the world: • As global surface temperature increases, warming is expected larger over land and in the Arctic and amplified in cities. • Heavy rainfall events are more intense and more frequent in a warming world, and runoff is amplified by urbanisation. • Low-lying islands and coastal areas are facing accelerating sea level rise, where once per century extreme sea level rise is expected to occur annually. The increasing extreme sea level will increase coastal flooding with the potential risk for widespread mortality and damage to housing, transportation, and energy infrastructure. • Most cities will experience increase of local temperatures of 1.5-2ºC earlier than other areas; and cities are the main sources of climate forcers. FIGURE 2.5 Global sea level from satellite altimetry since 1993 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 mm 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019 2021 2023 Year Satellite altimetry Average trend: 3.33+/-0.4mm/year 4.5mm/year Jan 2013 -Jan 2022 2.1mm/year Jan 1993 -Jan 2002 2.9mm/year Jan 2003 -Dec 2012 Panmao Zhai, IPCC FIGURE 2.6 Past trends in global surface air temperature (1958-2018) with cities reporting significant temperature increases *Urban Warming refers to the difference between local urban temperature change and surrounding warming. Prof. Zhai ended his presentation with a hopeful note – “Our climate is our future”. He emphasized that cities are the sites of innovation. Cities are where mitigation and adaptation plans are reimagined and implemented in the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and that the global community knows what it had to do with cities playing a central role in how societies adapt to a changing climate and to decarbonize.

15 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” FIGURE 2.7 Sea level heights and recurrence frequency Historical centennial events (HCE) in the recent past will become once per year events in the future due to sea level rise Sea level heights and recurrence frequency Time Recent past Future Mean sea level Mean sea level Sea level rise HCF 1/century 1/century 1/decade 1/decade 1/year 1/year 1/month 1/month FIGURE 2.9 Local effects of cities on temperature due to city geometry, heat from human activities, heat-retaining properties, water and vegetation -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 WARMING COOLING Local effect on temperature (ºC) Variations across different climates Cities often lack vegetation and water City Geometry Building density, city layout, height and size Heat from Human Activities Industrial/domestic heating Heat-retaining properties Building and road material Water Sea, rivers, lakes and irrigation Vegetation Parks, forests, gardens FIGURE 2.8: Climate resilient development pathways INCREASING URGENCY Starting today, every action, every decision matters. Worldwide action is more urgent than previously assessed.

16 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” Climate science – regional and local Dr. Cho Ming Cheng, Director of HKO, provided a summary of the significant regional-local climate science based on the latest observations and assessments of IPCC AR6, amongst other data: • The proportion and intensity of most intense tropical cyclones and the precipitation rates are increasing and are projected to increase due to climate change. Tropical cyclone induced storm surge, precipitation rate and wind waves will increase. They will have impacts on the GBA and Hong Kong. • 2022 was a year with heat extremes: 52 hot nights, 52 very hot days, and 15 days with temperature of 35°C or higher. Their respective numbers over 30-year periods have increased 42 times, 9 times and 13 times (25.0 / 18.9 / 0.9 (1992-2021) vs 0.6 / 2.2 / 0.07 (1885-1914)). • Under the intermediate GHG emissions scenario (SSP24.5), the climate projections for Hong Kong by the end of the century are: - Annual mean temperature will increase by 2°C relative to 1995-2014 average;1 - Annual number of hot nights and very hot days will increase to 117 and 95 respectively; and - Annual maximum daily rainfall will increase by 16%. • Under the very high GHG emissions scenario (SSP5-8.5), the climate projections for Hong Kong by the end of the century are: - Annual mean temperature will increase by 3.6°C relative to the1995-2014 average;2 - Annual number of hot nights and very hot days will increase to 167 and 152 respectively; - Annual maximum daily rainfall will increase by 29%. • Sea level rise (SLR) in Hong Kong - Sea level will continue to rise for centuries to millennia even under large net negative carbon dioxide emissions; - Sea level will increase by 0.56 m (likely range: 0.37 – 0.82 m) and 0.78 m (likely range: 0.57 – 1.08 m) by the end of the century under the intermediate and very high GHG emissions scenarios respectively, relative to the 1995-2014 average. These increases will become 0.94 m (likely range: 0.58 – 1.41 m) and 1.36 m (likely range: 0.92 – 1.99 m) respectively in 2150;3 - For the low confidence scenarios considered by IPCC, which indicate the potential impact of deeply uncertain ice sheet processes, sea level will increase by 0.57 m and 0.91 m under the intermediate and very high GHG emissions scenarios by the end of the century. These increases will become 1.0 m and 2.06 m respectively in 2150.4 Cho Ming Cheng, HKO

17 FIGURE 2.10 Tropical cyclone projection for Western North Pacific 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” FIGURE 2.11 Projection of annual maximum temperature for Hong Kong relative to the average of 1995-2014 under the Intermediate and Very High GHG emissions scenarios considered by IPCC AR6 FIGURE 2.12 Projection of annual number of hot nights, very hot days and cold days for Hong Kong under the Intermediate and Very High GHG emissions scenarios considered by IPCC AR6 160 120 80 40 0 160 120 80 40 0 1995-2014 (observed) 2041-2060 2081-2100 1995-2014 (obser ) 2041-2060 2081-2100 SSP2-4.5 Intermediate greenhouse gas emissions scenario SSP5-8.5 Very high greenhouse gas emissions scenario Annual number of hot nights Annual number of very hot days Annual number of cold days Annual number of hot nights Annual number of very hot days Annual number of cold days 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 20212040 20312050 20412060 20512070 20612080 20712090 20812100 20212040 20312050 20412060 20512070 20612080 20712090 20812100 Intermediate greenhouse gas emissions scenario Very high greenhouse gas emissions scenario 95th percentile 5th percentile Change in ºC Change in ºC TC Intensity 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 Proportion of very intense TC TC Precipitation 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 -10 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Max = 346.6% Maximum 90th percentile Mean median 75th percentile 25th percentile 10th percentile Minimum Change in % Change in % Change in %

18 FIGURE 2.13 Projection of annual maximum daily rainfall for Hong Kong relative to the average of 1995-2014 under the Intermediate and Very High GHG emissions scenarios considered by IPCC AR6 2 Climate Science – “Our climate is our future” FIGURE 2.14 Projected changes in annual mean sea level for Hong Kong relative to the average of 1995-2014 Coloured solid curves and the grey broken curve show median projections under the five emissions scenarios and the ‘low confidence’ scenarios respectively considered by IPCC AR6 Black horizontal lines indicate median projections in 2100. Coloured bars indicate likely ranges in 2100 under the 5 emissions scenarios. The probability for the likely range to cover the outcome is at least 66%. The grey bars indicate the 17th83rd percentile range of projection in 2100 under the ‘low confidence’ scenarios. 1. Or increase of 3.3°C relative to the average of 1885-1904 (the earliest 20-year period with average instrumental temperature data available at HKO). For comparison, the 2°C target of Paris Agreement is increase in the global temperature by the end of the century relative to the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900. 2. Or increase of 4.9°C relative to the average of 1885-1904. Also see note 1. 3. 4. 20212040 20312050 20412060 20512070 20612080 20712090 20812100 20212040 20312050 20412060 20512070 20612080 20712090 20812100 Intermediate greenhouse gas emissions scenario Very high greenhouse gas emissions scenario 100 80 60 40 20 0 -20 100 80 60 40 20 0 -20 Change in % Change in % 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100 1.5 1.0 0.5 0 Change in m Likely ranges (2100) Low Confidence (2100) SSP1-2.6 SSP2-4.5 SSP5-8.5 Low confidence scenario under SSP5-8.5 SSP5-8.5 SSP3-7.0 SSP2-4.5 SSP1-2.6 SSP1-1.9

19 CHAPTER 3 Government Panel on Adaptation and Resilience Complexity, uncertainty, progressive approaches, and innovation Government Plenary Chin Wan TSE, BBS, JP Secretary for Environment and Ecology, EEB David LAM, JP Under Secretary for Development, DEVB Ir. Ricky Chi Pan WONG, JP Head of Civil Engineering Office, CEDD Alice PANG, JP Director of Drainage Services, DSD Ir. Dr. Raymond CHEUNG, JP Head of Geotechnical Engineering Office, CEDD Dr. Siu Fai LEUNG, JP Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, AFCD Ir. Kelvin Kwok Wah LO, JP Director of Water Supplies, WSD Ir. Ken Chor Kee YEUNG Chief Building Services Engineer, ArchSD Ir. Henry Yu Shing CHANG Chief Building Services Engineer, HD Moderator: Prof. Christine LOH, SBS, JP, OBE Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, HKUST The intention of showcasing the HKSAR Government’s relevant policies and projects at the start of CARE2022 on Day 1 was to inform the public about the breadth of climate adaptation-related work. The feedback was positive because government Bureaux and Departments with major responsibilities for climate change shared their plans and projects together. This chapter focuses on what the Bureaux and Departments presented. The intention is not to provide a detailed critique of their work here, as that would require substantial effort beyond the ambit of a post-conference report. Nevertheless, together with Chapters 4 and 5 that summarized the discussions at the two Workshops on Day 1, it is possible to make general observations, such as the Bureaux and Departments are significant users of technology and generators of innovations, and recommendations that would hopefully offer useful reflections for the authorities and the community on where gaps lie and where trade-offs need to be more clearly articulated. WATCH VIDEO

20 The students and young people attending the Government Panel at CARE2022 showed great interest in the work of the authorities and wanted to know how they could be involved. Adaptation and resilience policies Reducing GHGs is no longer enough to stop the impacts of climate change – it is also necessary to start adapting to a warming world. While active mitigation and adaptation are both essential, there are important differences to note: • The benefits arising from mitigation occur on a global scale, whereas adaptation benefits are essentially local. • The success of mitigation can be measured by means of calculating GHG reductions but there is no one metric for measuring success in adaptation, thus efforts must be considered against the specific context of location and characteristics. Role of government The role of local government is therefore vital in adaptation because extreme weather affect specific communities. Individual actions are seldom sufficient with sea level rise, flooding, and landslides. Governments must act – the benefits to society outweigh the costs in terms of loss of life and damage to assets. Only governments have the capacities, policy tools and financial means to deal with long-term horizons, scale and uncertainties through planning and change of land use or activity, building defensive infrastructure, as well as carrying out restoration works and absorbing losses. Dealing with climate change requires policies that invariably run up against costs vs. benefits calculations, effectiveness of interventions, and achieving equity across society. As there are many uncertainties in adaptation, it would be wise to design policies with flexibility that could respond to changing conditions over time. There are long-term fiscal implications for adaptation and the needed public sector investments are large. For Hong Kong, dealing with extreme storms, heavy precipitations, coastal protection and flooding, as well as landslides require continuous research and astute long-term budgeting. Moreover, the built environment will need to be adapted to 3 Government Panel on Adaptation and Resilience reduce risks associated with more frequent and extreme weather events, including rising temperatures that will affect community health (see Chapter 5). Government decisions about the location and design of new buildings and physical infrastructures will have long-term consequences. Retrofitting buildings will be a critical adaptation response in a densely built-up environment such as Hong Kong and much of the GBA, as most of the building stock in the region expected to be in use in 2050-2060 have already been built and many are ageing. While retrofitting buildings was not discussed on Day 1, it was an issue brought up by stakeholders in the property development sector on Day 3 (see Chapter 6). The rapid pace of climate disruptions results in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Government policy is needed to reduce such risks through thoughtful planning alongside biodiversity protection and restoration. Nexus between mitigation and adaptation The Secretary for the Environment and Ecology and the Under Secretary for Development, explained the nexus between mitigation and adaptation. The HKSAR Government’s climate mitigation timelines and targets are well-publicised in the Climate Action Plan 2050 and need not be repeated in this report.1 The HKSAR Government aims to “converge the diversified expertise” from various departments to enhance the speed, efficiency and effectiveness in planning and implementing adaptation efforts. The HKSAR Government have major development plans, such as Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, and Kau Yi Chau Artificial Island in Harbour Metropolis, as well as many other plans and projects with climate implications. Current policy already requires departments to integrate sustainability features into them wherever possible, such as renewable energy (for example, Drainage Services Department (DSD) and Water Supplies Department (WSD) both have large solar PV projects), biodiversity, and community enjoyment. This chapter also summarizes the innovation and technology aspects of the government’s work in pursuing climate challenges. October C Hong Kong’s 2021 LIMATE ACTION PLAN