Expert believes more frequent and severe typhoons will hit Asia

Christiana Figueres, who was a keynote speaker of the 2018 MIECF Green Forum and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) believes that casino shuttles will only be allowed to cross the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge if they are electrical.

“In the new terminals that are being built for the bridge, casinos will have access with their buses if they are electric,” Figueres said, noting that this information had been given to her by the Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário.

Furthermore, when talking about Macau’s transportation network, Figueres said, “Macau is also moving towards electrification of mobility. I would say that the Light Rail counts as electrification of mobility. The Light rail that is being built and the high-speed train should count as electrification of mobility.”

“I would say that Macau is moving to the direction of electrifying its mobility through light rail, heavy rail and vehicles, and you have to understand that this process does not happen overnight. You have to put infrastructure into places, you have to change consumers’ behaviors, and you have to make these vehicles affordable. But I think the direction is already set,” said Figueres.

During a media interview session on the sideline of the 2018 MIECF, Figueres made a few comments about environmental topics concerning Macau.

On the use of plastic and recycling, Figueres, who is currently Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Climate Works Board Member, and World Bank Climate Leader, remarked that “utilizing single use plastic, which is the main plastic [used commercially], is a very good example of an environmental challenge that has risen very quickly in public awareness over the past 12 months, more than anything.”

Moreover, she pointed out two recent news items – the first being that China will no longer collect plastic from the rest of the world, and second being that a “very compelling photographic campaign” had a significant visual impact on the public opinion.

“Macau, of course, is no exception with its high concentration of population and plastic use. Macau will have to figure out what it does with its own plastic because it can no longer export it to China,” Figueres stated. In her opinion, being a highly condensed city is at the same time a challenge and an advantage for Macau, since it has a smaller footprint per capita when compared to other cities.

“Macau does have the possibility of becoming a leading world eco city,” Figueres expressed, suggesting that Macau has to expend effort on the quality of water, effective utilization of living spaces and communal spaces for everyone, and spend effort on the handling of plastic in order to achieve its goal of being a leading world eco city.

“What is very unique to Macau is the high level of tourism that Macau has, because it is more difficult to affect tourists’ behavior than to affect the behavior of citizens who live in your city. So that is why the changes for environmental protection need to be systemically introduced, and not necessarily depending only on individual human behaviors,” Figueres remarked.

Sharing many of the local people’s concerns, Figueres, who is also a WorldBank Climate Leader, suggested that tourism levels in Macau represent a challenge for the city in terms of working towards better environmental protection.

“I would say that it is pretty typical for a city that has the impact that Macau has to hold the impact of this level of people coming from outside, [namely the] level of tourism. So, I think there have been extraordinary efforts to protect [the environment] and more has to be done. But that’s typical for any city that has that level of people coming in and out,” Figueres commented, adding that any city in a similar situation should consider making itself “as clean as possible [and] as connected as possible through the use of technology, through the source of food, as compacted as possible.”

Recently, while talking to students at the University of Macau, Rosário indicated that the current solution for Macau’s recycling industry is not the recycling itself, but in the “classification of waste and their transport to other places.”

When asked by the Times if she agrees with Rosário’s statement, Figueres said “beyond the classification, there has to be recycling opportunities developed and delivered. Besides that, it’s looking at the problem before you go to classification and recycling; it’s how much plastic enters the city […], you have to deal with that afterward, so it is about curbing the amount of plastic that enters the city.”

In addition, she noted that “there is a high level of certainty about the fact that typhoons in Asia – in Macau specifically – but also Asia in general, will increase their frequency and intensity because of the increase in temperature. The increase in temperature leads to the increase of evaporation, so you have more humidity in the air, which will lead to more typhoons. What is important to understand is that the increase in surface temperature and the increase in humidity in air do not cause typhoons, but maximizes them in the sense of making them either more intense, or more frequent. Unless we are able to avoid going beyond a 2-degree temperature increase, the typhoons in this area in Asia will become much more frequent, and much more intense. Every city has to be ready for that.”

Figueres, who is also a Senior Fellow for Conservation International and a convener for Mission 2020, also offered several comments about China’s developments in terms of green energy.

“China could become the dominant player in the electric vehicle market just like today it is the dominant player in the solar panel market. China is a very good example of respect to the Paris Agreement,” said Figueres.

MIECF records 28 percent increase in business-matching sessions

The Macao International Environmental Co- operation Forum & Exhibition 2018 (MIECF) concluded on Saturday, recording a 28 percent year-on-year increase in the number of “Green Matching” sessions hosted.

The 11th edition of the exhibition featured activities including “Green Matching” sessions; seminars and presentations; the “Greater Bay Area Environmental Co-operation Networking Session”; and the “Green Building Industry Networking Session.”

Organizers informed in a statement that a total of 35 agreements were signed for either cooperative or commercial business, during the three days of business exchange and negotiations that were occasioned by the event.

Also, a total of 349 business-matching sessions were held in the “Green Matching” zone, a year- on-year increase of 28 percent.

Meanwhile, organizers applied to have the “Green Forum” panel sessions accredited by professional bodies, so as to issue relevant certificates to participants in each session.

The “Green Forum” attracted more than 3,900 participants this year.

This year’s event also saw a larger display area for environmentally-friendly concepts originating from the Greater Bay Area.

It also included several other themed areas, which included the “Showcase Area for Innovative Environmental Protection Technologies,” the “Green Construction Pavilion” which showcased environmentally-friendly construction products and services, and the “Showcase Area for Green Transportation,” featuring options for sustainable transport.

During the “Green Showcase” exhibition, the MIECF host and co-organizers arranged – as in previous editions– guided tours for government departments in order to strengthen those departments’ understanding of environmentally-friendly products and technologies.

Organizers said that more than 30 government departments sent representatives to participate in such tours at this year’s edition.

A “Government Procurement Matching Session” was also held, a new activity that welcomed the participation of 16 governmental departments. More than 80 negotiations took place with the aim of matching suppliers to various public-sector departments interested in “green” procurement.

Meanwhile, the visit for the “Guangdong-Macao (Jiangmen) Cooperation Demonstration Zone” in Jiangmen, Guangdong was attended by 50 people, including local representatives of the environmental protection sector and the financial sector.

The delegation learned about wastewater treatment facilities and advanced electroplating technologies, and held discussions with local government departments regarding bilateral environmental cooperation in line with the national policies of “going global” and “bringing in”.

The “Eco-Market Macao” was the session that wrapped up the event, retailing environmentally-friendly products to the public.

The next edition of MIECF will be held from March 28 to 30.

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