Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Taiwan will have to spend twice as much as other countries as a percentage of GDP to meet international carbon emissions reduction norms, which should be carefully considered by the government in approaching the problem, an environmental expert said Wednesday.
Speaking at a seminar on Taiwan's low-carbon roadmap, Yang Jih-chang, a senior adviser to the Industrial Technology Research Institute, said the pursuit of international standards could entail a heavy financial burden on the country.
Citing International Energy Agency (IEA) data, Yang said a country has to spend up to 0.5 percent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) to keep greenhouse gases below 450 ppm (parts per million) by 2020.
But with scant natural energy resources and an industrial sector accounting for over 50 percent of the country's annual GDP, Taiwan may have to spend more than double the IEA-estimated amount to realize the IEA goal, Yang said, estimating that such an effort could cost NT$100 billion to NT$150 billion annually.
Speaking on the same occasion, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen said the Legislative Yuan has passed laws on energy management and renewable energy development, but more work still needs to be done.
"Once the statutes governing energy taxes and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are enacted, our legal framework on carbon reduction will be complete," Shen said.
He also urged Taiwan Power Co. to reduce the ratio of fossil fuels in its energy generation at the same as renewable energy sources are being developed.
Minister-without-Portfolio Liang Chi-yuan said President Ma Ying-jeou attaches great importance to carbon reduction and has instructed Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu to form an interministerial task force to promote energy conservation and carbon reduction.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang is also scheduled to convene a meeting on strategies for boosting development of new energy sources, Liang said.
Yang Chi-yuan, an associate professor at Chinese Culture University, said the government should not plot a carbon reduction target using a top-down centralized process, suggesting instead that it allow agencies in charge of transportation, industrial and economic affairs to set targets based on practical abilities.
"We need not follow European and American countries in setting carbon reduction targets because their regulations do not necessarily meet Taiwan's needs," Yang added.
(By Liu Kwang-yin and Sofia Wu)