When the Nest Gets Fouled, Executives Fly First
Wall Street Journal (accessible by subscription only) reports that people routinely wear surgical masks in Hong Kong's "most polluted districts", and that some executive talent gets a 5% "hazardous duty pay" add-on to relocate there. Expats with children, especially, are wanting to move away from the bad air. For perspective: "Levels of particulate matter are roughly 40% higher in Hong Kong than in Los Angeles, the most polluted city in the U.S". Most shocking of all: "A recent survey of American business leaders in the region, conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, found that 79% of executives felt environmental issues are making Hong Kong less attractive to foreign companies". Why shocking? The Chamber of Commerce can always be counted on to trot out its mantra about excessive government regulation putting undue limits on business. So, when the CC's own constituency says pollution is a limit to growth you know that change will come. What will the response be? Some negotiated emission limits for mainland industry will eventually be attempted. Much sooner, expect a boost to investment in greener technologies. Out of sight was not out of lungs and eyes: reality dawns even upon the financial elite. Even better would be an exploration of less resource intensive lifestyles. After all, there are no more fervent believers than the recently converted!
Photo Credit: Fosberg travel blog.