Oxfam: climate plan won’t help HK’s poorest adapt

Oxfam Hong Kong has criticised the SAR’s climate action plan, saying the blueprint will do little to help the poor adapt to climate change.

The government announced details of its 2050 climate plan last month, identifying four key decarbonisation strategies: net-zero electricity generation, energy saving and green buildings, green transport and waste reduction. It’s promised to spend $240 billion over the next 15 to 20 years in taking forward the measures.

However, Oxfam says the administration has not formulated specific climate adaption goals and measures geared towards helping the poor cope with extreme weather.

Speaking on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today show on Monday, Oxfam’s programme director for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Wong Shek-hung, said the effects were particularly serious for people living in subdivided flats, who face temperatures 5.8 degrees hotter than outdoors.

She called on the government to provide more transitional housing for people waiting for public flats.

“More than 100,000 of these families are now living in the subdivided flats and this situation is really worse,” Wong told RTHK’s Janice Wong. “I think the supply (of transitional homes) is not enough for those living in the subdivided flats right now and waiting for the public housing. We demand more and more.

“So we ask for the government to maximise the use of the idle short-term tenancy sites, especially those used as car parks.”

She said “innovative ideas” could allow the conversion of parking to short-term housing.

Oxfam has also pointed to street cleaners as a group that faces challenges in extreme heat. It has suggested cleaners could be offered flexible working hours.