Taipei named finalist for city climate leadership awards

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Taipei has been selected as one of the finalists for the C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards, which recognize cities that have successfully implemented projects to tackle climate change, Taipei environmental officials said Sunday.

Taipei, London and Mexico City are the three finalists in the category of "Air Quality." The awards are granted by the German engineering firm Siemens AG and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of cities around the world that take action to reduce their carbon emissions.

Taipei won the nomination with its air quality improvement plan called "Clean Air - It's Your Move," according to the Taipei City Department of Environmental Protection.

Under the plan, Taipei has set up public dynamometers to measure and control air pollution emissions from diesel vehicles, and introduced YouBike - a public bike rental system - in 2009 to provide commuters with an alternative to motor vehicles.

As of June this year, there were 3,213 diesel buses and 2,217 diesel trucks with low-pollution identification symbols in Taipei, according to Wu Sheng-chung, commissioner of the department.

These vehicles reduce PM2.5 pollutants -- particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter -- by an estimated 127 tons per year, he said.

Meanwhile, there were 5,265 YouBikes and 160 rental stations in the city as of May this year, with each bike averaging 11.1 rides per day, Wu said.

According to the awards' official website, motor vehicles are the main air pollution source in Taipei, accounting for 57 percent of air pollutants and 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The awards, now in their second year, recognize projects in 10 categories, including "Urban Transportation," "Green Energy," and "Intelligent City Infrastructure."

This year, 31 projects submitted by 26 cities were selected as finalists for the awards.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in New York on Sept. 22.

(By Christie Chen)