Rising CO2 emissions in Taiwan a warning: officials

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) The level of carbon dioxide emissions in Taiwan rose for the second consecutive year in 2011, reaching an estimated 261 million tons, which sent a warning signal, government officials said Tuesday. The main cause was the increasing dependence on fossil fuels, Environmental Minister Stephen Shen said at a national summit that is discussing ways of achieving sustainable living amid climate change. Currently, nearly 70 percent of the state-run Taiwan Power Co.'s electricity comes from thermal power, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. With the turnaround in the economy, the demand for electricity -- generated mostly from fossil fuels -- is also on the rise, the officials said. The level of greenhouse gas emissions in Taiwan fell for the first time in 2008 and 2009, to 252 million and 240 million tons, respectively. That trend, however, has been reversed since 2010, when CO2 emissions climbed to 254 million tons. Taiwan will pay a price if it fails to control that situation and instead allows greenhouse gas emissions to increase at the current rate, Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan warned. For example, he said, Taiwan may have to pay a carbon tax of NT$142.7 billion (US$4.7 billion) to the international community until 2025. "To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need greater inter-department collaboration and public consensus on energy saving," he said. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)