Oxfam Hong Kong, Complaints Choir and Legislative Councillors sing for a comprehensive climate policy in Hong Kong

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2009-12-02

Oxfam Hong Kong and Complaints Choir of Hong Kong recruited Hong Kong legislators Audrey Yuet-mee Eu and Gary Hak-kan Chan, to sing out against climate change in a performance at the Legislative Council in Central, Hong Kong. The four-minute song coincided with the law-making's debate today on the Hong Kong SAR Government's initiatives on climate change.

The four-minute performance, in Cantonese, was also timed to precede the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which begins on 7 December. The UN Conference will determine whether developed countries will reduce carbon emissions and assist developing countries with climate adaptation measures, technologically and financially.

Oxfam Hong Kong calls on the Hong Kong SAR Government to formulate a comprehensive climate policy, setting clear objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hong Kong's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are double the world average, and it is currently exempted from binding emission standards that are applied to developed countries. The leniency is due to Hong Kong's political status under China's umbrella as a developing country, even though the city of seven million people is one of the world's most developed cities and biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

"Wealthy local people are the ones who contribute the most to climate change. But it is usually the disadvantaged and the vulnerable who are affected the most by it.  This is beyond just an environmental issue – it is also a question of justice," commented Legislator Audrey Eu.

Legislator Gary Chan also recognised that climate change and greenhouse gas emissions have become important international issues, and he urges Hong Kong as "an international metropolis, to complete the consultancy study on the issues as soon as possible and draw up a climate change policy."

"It's encouraging that the Legislative Council has recognised the importance of climate change initiatives, and the Hong Kong Government really needs to take the lead in reducing carbon emissions and facilitating adaptation measures for the city of seven million," commented Campaigns Coordinator Stanley So of Oxfam Hong Kong. "The Hong Kong Government should announce a clear timetable on its climate change policy and on public consultations."

Stanley So will attend the Copenhagen negotiations from 7 to 18 December, along with 22-year-old Chinese University of Hong Kong Chemistry major Wayne Law, who serves as an Oxfam Youth Campaign Ambassador.. Stanley So also campaigned at the UN meetings in Poznan and Bangkok.

Meanwhile Legislator Cyd Ho has expressed her concerns over how climate change impacts people in Hong Kong, such as "heat stroke might result when bus drivers drive without air-conditioning, and elderly who live alone may not have the monetary resources to pay for air conditioning. Usually it's the grassroots who suffer the most when climate change hits."

The Complaints Choir, a worldwide movement in about 25 cities, combines song with activism. Today's performance marks for the first time the Complaints Choir of Hong Kong is collaborating with an organisation to create and perform a thematic song on one single topic – usually, the issues are open-ended, all-inclusive and non-restrictive. Yet, the climate crisis is severe, and this special dedicated action proved necessary. In October, Oxfam and the Choir started gathering complaints about climate change and poverty through street-side interviews as well as through Facebook and other social media. Using these comments, lyrics were developed together in workshops, with equal participation among the Choir members, who come from all walks of life.

Leaders of over 190 countries will meet in Copenhagen from 7 - 18 December in an effort to thrash out the details of an agreement on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, when targets set under the Kyoto agreement of 1997 are due to be met.

For more about Oxfam's campaign against climate change and poverty:
www.oxfam.org.hk/climatechange

Notes to Editors:
Downloaded the pictures of the performance

About Oxfam Hong Kong
Oxfam Hong Kong is an independent development and humanitarian organisation working against poverty and related injustice. We recognise that much poverty is caused by injustice and that poverty alleviation requires economic, social and structural change. We work with people facing poverty and with partner organisations on development, humanitarian, policy advocacy and public education programmes.

About Complaints Choir of Hong Kong
Complaints Choir is an idea originated with the artists Tellero Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen in Finland. It is about gathering a group of people to voice out their dissatisfactions with the cities/countries they are living in by singing a song together. After a great success of the first Complaints Choir in Birmingham, complaints choir was then initiated by many people over the world, e.g. Singapore, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Melbourne, Chicago, Florence and more.  The Hong Kong group made its debut performance during this year's 1 July National Day march.   

For media enquiries, please contact:

Stanley So (Campaigns Coordinator)
Tel: 3120 5219 
Mobile: 9768 4326
Email:
stanley@oxfam.org.hk

Thomas Lau (Communications Officer)
Tel: 3120 5275
Email:
thomasl@oxfam.org.hk