Archive for October, 2007


Thursday, October 18th, 2007

The September 2007 issue of Euromoney has an article about emissions trading in China which mentions our Hong Kong study (see previous posting), and also cites me on a number of occasions. For example:

On July 18, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing appointed Australian law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and consultants International Environmental Trading Group and Climate Focus, to study the trading of emissions-related products, expecting the study to take four months. “The US has developed sophisticated markets on pollutants; Europe has a large and aggressive market. It’s pretty clear Asia’s going to be next,” says Raufer at IETG. “The question is how do you evolve into that, and deal with development issues and pollution problems.”

Key to it will be the regulatory framework. “You need an institutional basis for structuring these markets,” says Raufer. “They are artificial markets created by government requirements. They’re not like widgets or cellphones where people want to buy them. You buy them because you have to. So you need that regulatory infrastructure, and it takes a while to establish.”

The article is covered by their copyright, but please drop me a note & I’ll be happy to send along a copy for personal use.

Hong Kong

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Hong Kong air quality

The clear summer skies over HK were long gone, and we had some of the worst air pollution I’ve seen in a very long time on this trip. And it was quite a long trip — more than five weeks during September & October 2007. That did give me an opportunity to once again see the Tai Hang fire dragon parade (see last year’s posting & adjacent pictures), a fun part of the Mid-Autumn festival and the 127th time it’s been held.

Tai Hang fire dragon head …..and tail

And I think I’m now on my way to becoming a real HK native (I guess all I have to do is learn the language real quick, huh??). I’d ride the MTR subway from my apartment in North Point to Central, and then head over to my office in IFC2, the tallest building in Hong Kong. Or else I would get off at Admiralty instead & go to my other HK office, in Lippo Center — which overlooks Victoria Peak and the mountain side.

Roger’s IFC2 office at Mallesons

The reason for all this is a contract we won to assist the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in determining whether they should become a carbon exchange. The prime contractor is Mallesons Stephen Jaques, an Australian-based law firm with offices in HK — and they kindly gave me my own office on the 37th floor of IFC2, with a beautiful view of the harbor, my name on the door, and a great team of people to work with! The firm I’ve been working with, International Environmental Trading Group (IETG), is a sub-contractor, along with Climate Focus, a Netherlands-based firm that specializes in the carbon market. You can read about our selection in the HKEx press release.

Credit: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets

Another important reason for this visit is that I was invited to speak at the CLSA Investors Forum, a week-long financial conclave (perhaps extravaganza would be a more appropriate word?) addressing the Asia-Pacific marketplace. In addition to first-rate technical sessions, CLSA also hosted a number of great social events (including one with the band INXS), and tickets in HK were definitely on the ‘hard-to-get’ list. (I know, because I tried — unsuccessfully — to get some more).

Queens Road Central and Other Stories

I’m going back to HK soon for another extended stay, so the next set of ‘Raufer Updates’ postings might take a while. In the meantime, however, I’ll suggest yet another book about the city — this one entitled Queen’s Road Central & Other Stories, by Matthew Harrison. As the title hints, every story is linked to a physical location in the city, and one reviewer captured its spirit: “The stories are an entertaining way of looking at Hong Kong through the eyes of Hong Kong people, expatriates and returnees, showcasing the intersections of romance and work, the ups and downs of careers, and the chaos and pace of the city.” What is truly amazing to me, however, is that the author has another full-time job, as a senior research official in the Research & Planning department at a major HK institution. The book never says where — so I won’t either — but let me just say that I’ve come to know the author, and also know the difficulties of writing a ‘non-fiction’ book — and I simply can’t imagine (literally!) going through the same thing in fiction. I’m really quite impressed.

UN Efforts

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

UNIDO rep in Shenzhen

I was invited to give introductory remarks on behalf of UNIDO at the recent China Hi-tech Fair at the Shenzhen Convention Center in October 2007.  The Shenzhen International Technology Promotion Centre for Sustainable Development (ITPC) analyzed four sectors of the renewable energy industry in China — solar, wind, biomass and small-scale hydro — and developed rankings of the various industries and service groups.  The results of their UNIDO-sponsored effort, the “2007 BlueSky Ranking Report,” were announced at the conference and awards were presented to the winners.  I was interviewed by Xinhua News at the session, and I’d certainly like to congratulate Dr. Yu Yuanqi and his team once again for their considerable efforts in promoting renewable energy throughout the country.

Roger in Xinhua News

And in August 2007, Dr. Ivan Vera (now with UN DESA) and I finalized the Background Document for discussion at the Ad-hoc Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Development Indicators for the Power Sector, which was held in Bangkok in July by UN ESCAP.   After the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, efforts to “operationalize” the meaning of sustainable development (SD) resulted in a report entitled Indicators of Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies (now available in its 3rd [2007] edition).  IAEA and other multilateral organizations then decided that energy deserved particular attention, and the resulting report and case studies were described in my earlier “Vienna” posting.  Now, countries in Asia are once again narrowing the focus to address SD concerns within the rapidly growing power sector. UN ESCAP has led this effort, and Dr. Vera and I prepared the Background Document for their discussions in Bangkok.  The final background document was modified to reflect the experts’ comments, which are summarized in Annex I of the report.