Government urged to take action on emissions

Group says Bali climate forum participants worry over Taiwan's status as Asia's top CO2 emitter

The government should face up to Taiwan's high greenhouse gas emissions and take immediate and concrete measures to tackle the problem to avoid an international boycott, several environmental groups urged yesterday.
The demand was made by the Taiwan Environmental Action Network, the Green Party in Taiwan, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union and other groups that held a joint news conference in Taipei yesterday to share their observations from the recently concluded United Nations climate conference in Bali.
TEAN Secretary-General Cheng Yi-ching said he noticed three major developments at the Bali forum. Developed countries set more ambitious goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the 25 countries producing the most emissions asked for deep cuts, and developing countries such as Brazil and South Africa voluntarily proposed to set goals to reduce emissions, he said.
Representatives from around the world were astonished to learn that Taiwan's per capita CO2 emissions were the highest in Asia, Cheng said, and they noted that they would not let Taiwan become the "black hole" of global CO2 emitters.
He argued that Taiwan had no excuse not to set goals for CO2 emissions reduction given that Brazil and South Africa were actively tackling the same problem.
Each Taiwanese resident produces on average about 12 metric tons of CO2 annually, much higher than the global average of 4 tons, according to Environmental Protection Administration statistics. Taiwan is also responsible for about one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA's figures show.
Cheng said conference attendees advised Taiwan to take immediate measures and put in place policies adopted by the international community to avoid facing a boycott similar to that faced by the United States. Taking action would also give Taiwan more time to respond to the needs of a low carbon society, they suggested.
Lin Tzu-lun, an assistant professor at National Taiwan University, stressed that while the U.S. remained reluctant to promise any specific target for carbon emission reductions, it still recognized the policies and suggestions proposed in the fourth assessment report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In addition to the U.S.' shift in attitude, the U.N. also established an adaptation fund to help developing countries set up related mechanisms, but these changes in thinking had yet to influence Taiwan, Lin said.
He contended that the only agency paying attention to the climate change issue is the EPA, while other public departments remained silent on the issue.