Hong Kong residents are using nearly twice the resources of citizens of mainland China, according to an ecological footprint assessment by WWF Hong Kong and the Global Footprint Network (GFN).
Hong Kong’s ecological footprint per person is more than double the sustainable level, and the carbon component has increased approximately seven-fold since 1965 according to the first Ecological Footprint Report for Hong Kong, released late last year.
According to the report, Hong Kong residents require an area of land and sea greater than the size of 250 Hong Kongs to produce the natural resources it consumes, and to absorb the carbon dioxide it is responsible for emitting.
To reduce Hong Kong's ecological deficit, WWF is urging Hong Kong to put the concept of "Low Carbon Economy” into real action immediately and develop a comprehensive energy strategy.
"Hong Kong is fortunate in having financial resources to transform into a truly modern city where we can live well on a modest ecological footprint,” said Dr Andy Cornish, Director of Conservation WWF Hong Kong.
“In doing so, Hong Kong can lead by example, providing a sustainability blueprint for other cities in China and around the world. However, our current ecological footprint is far beyond the sustainable level. Hong Kong needs to reduce our footprint by increasing efficiency and reducing consumption.”
Hong Kong covers its significant ecological deficit mostly by importing natural resources from other nations. As resource demand around the world continues to grow and resources become increasingly scarce, the report suggests that Hong Kong’s dependency on imported resources poses considerable risk.
"Although small geographically, Hong Kong not only has significant resource demands, but it also has an over-proportional influence on the world," said Global Footprint Network Executive Director Mathis Wackernagel.
"In an era of increasingly limited resources, it will be in Hong Kong's self-interest to take its ecological balance sheet seriously and limit its resource dependence if it wants to stay prosperous and competitive."
The Hong Kong Ecological Footprint Report will be produced by WWF-Hong Kong every two years. "To move towards a more sustainable Hong Kong, we should reduce our footprint to a sustainable level,” said Dr Cornish.
“We already know where to start. The biggest contributor to Hong Kong's footprint is the way in which we generate and use energy: carbon emissions make up 80 per cent of our overall footprint. Reducing carbon emissions is therefore essential to reducing Hong Kong's overall ecological overshoot.”