Reply To: Soko Islands will be harmed by ExxonMobil-CLP LNG terminal

#7859
DocMartin
Member

Here’s a letter I sent SCM Post editor on 15 Feb (had reply saying they had two similar letters just in, which were to be published. My letter didn’t appear; just edited it and resent).

Dear Sir:

It was interesting to read the article in the Sunday Morning Post magazine on ExxonMobil’s ongoing efforts to obfuscate scientific information on global warming, Recently, these efforts included offers of US$10,000 for scientists willing to emphasise the shortcomings of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Greenpeace International accuses ExxonMobil of a “deliberate misinformation campaign” over the effects of the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred when an ExxonMobil tanker ran aground in Alaska in 1989. Though ExxonMobil has sought to play down the impacts, this was one of the the largest manmade environmental disasters to occur at sea.

We might wonder, then, if ExxonMobil is a fit company to be allowed to damage one of Hong Kong’s finest coastal areas, by building an LNG terminal on the Sokos in partnership with CLP. Already we are seeing ExxonMobil-style disinformation: as noted in a letter from Charles Frew, an advert promoting the terminal showed a fake image, with a surreal scene of 2 Chinese White Dolphins above a coral seabed with a school of Bluestripe Snapper

More recent adverts show a bucolic farm scene – which surely isn’t anywhere in Hong Kong. There is, too, an implicit threat – as if without the LNG terminal, we won’t have clean air in Hong Kong. Perhaps we are supposed to be scared into saying yes.

It seems that in the rush to harm the Sokos and boost the profits of CLP and ExxonMobil (which is already among the world’s most profitable companies), only scant attention is being paid to alternatives. For instance, LNG could be supplied from nearby mainland China.

Intriguingly, too, the UK recently scrapped plans for an LNG terminal at Teesside. Instead, advances in technology allow the LNG to be converted to gas on board vessels. It is then piped into the gas supply, via “a small aboveground station that enables pressure control, metering and nitrogen blending to be carried out”.

Thus, an LNG terminal in Hong Kong might not only be environmentally harmful. It may also be outmoded before it’s even built.

Yours faithfully,
Dr Martin Williams

The above didn’t appear; I followed with a third letter – below – and edited version of this was published.

Even though the Soko Islands seem out of sight, out of mind to most Hongkongers, recent letters to the editor indicate continuing concerns regarding Exxon-CLP plans for a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal on one of the islands.

?? wrote that he had seen the islands from a plane, and on the southern side they appeared to have been already ruined. However, iwhile he may have seen the Sokos, the industrial development and quarrying damage he described was on nearby islands just outside Hong Kong. The Sokos remain mostly green and relatively wild and, as the writer’s observations help show, this is unusual among South China islands.

In “Council’s scope limited”, letter writer John Schofield noted that the Advisory Council on the Environment had not considered all issues related to the terminal. A follow-up letter recommended he read the minutes of a recent meeting of ACE.

I have read those minutes, and noted that ACE was unable to discuss, “Issues falling outside the remit of the EIA Ordinance, including the need and justifications for the project, alternative sources of supply outside Hong Kong and land use interface” – so its scope was indeed limited.

It seems that in the haste to harm the Sokos and boost the profits of CLP and ExxonMobil (already among the world’s most profitable companies), only scant attention is being paid to alternatives. For instance, LNG could be supplied from nearby mainland China.

Intriguingly, too, the UK recently scrapped plans for an LNG terminal at Teesside. Instead, advances in technology allow the LNG to be converted to gas on board vessels. It is then piped into the gas supply, via “a small aboveground station that enables pressure control, metering and nitrogen blending to be carried out”.

Thus, an LNG terminal in Hong Kong might not only be environmentally harmful. It may also be outmoded before it’s even built.

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/04/03 18:41