New Taipei named one of the top ten global cities in carbon disclosure

In response to global warming, New Taipei City has been pushing for low-carbon policies and action plans, and in 2015, joined the United Nations’ “Compact of Mayors,” in which it becomes the first in Asia to have met all four requirements for participating in the coalition.

In addition, in 2015, the city was included in the list of top ten cities for excellence in reporting climate change by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The organization also cited the city as a fine example for the quality and completeness of its environmental risk reports.

On April 10, 2015, the city held the “Post-Paris Agreement - In the Face of Climate Change” forum, in which scholars and civil groups were invited to talk about efforts that could be made to deal with the challenges of climate change. In the meantime, the city revealed its greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2030 and 2050, and its future policies for urban renewal geared toward disaster prevention and a “sponge city,” in the hope that it becomes a resilient and livable city in the future.

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu said in his speech during the forum that as climate change poses great challenges to the planet, it is crucial for the government to plan for both the immediate and future impact of climate change, and to make serious efforts towards ecological conservation and carbon reduction.

New Taipei has been working on promoting green building, green energy, green transport, and sustainable living in recent years, and its efforts to lower carbon emissions have gained international recognition. The city has set its greenhouse gas reduction goal in 2016 to below 2008 levels, which is expected to be achieved this year. In addition, the city sets further goals to reduce carbon emission by 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

The director of the New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department, Liu He-ran, said during the forum that the Paris Agreement has stated clearly the necessity for cities around the world to participate in the carbon reduction mission, and through the carbon reduction action, New Taipei was seen as one of the best cities for its high-quality response to the climate change action plan.

Acting Chief of the Urban and Rural Development Department, Chiu Jin-bin, said Taiwan was listed by the World Bank as one of the Natural Disaster Hotspots, given large-scale drought or flood has occurred more often in Taiwan in recent years. Disaster prevention and control as a result becomes one of the most important matters that the government needs to deal with.

New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chen Shen-hsien said the city has been working hard to cope with major global issues, and has pledged to work with several NGOs and NPOs on the development of renewable energy.

Eugene Chien, the chairman of the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE), praised the New Taipei government for its effort in energy conservation; Yang Shun-mei, senior adviser at the Fubon Foundation, stated that national policies on dealing with climate change should take into account regional differences; it is not hard to see what a city can do for energy conservation and carbon reduction, as New Taipei City sets a good example on both counts. Civic participation, especially, is what made the city so successful in promoting related policies. “There are still a lot of challenges ahead of us, and it is important to let the city residents know the importance of which,” said Yang.

Lai Jung-hsiao, chairman of the Society of Wilderness, and Lai Wei-chieh, chairman of the Green Citizens’ Action Alliance, recognized the government’s effort in promoting environmental protection, international participation, and environmental education. “Through a more comprehensive civic participation mechanism, the civil society would be able to play a critical role in the implementation of governmental policies,” said Lai.

Meanwhile, the forum also held two panel discussions, in which the “Adaptation Planning and Thinking” panel invited Yang Chi-bin, associate director of the National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities, Lin Tze-luen, associate professor at National Taiwan University, Tung Ching-pin, professor at National Taiwan University, and Chang Chih-hsin from the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, to talk about resilience thinking in urban planning, the international trend after Paris Agreement, climate change and disaster impact; the second panel, the “Energy Conservation and Green Energy Study,” invited Hung Shen-han, deputy secretary-general of the Green Citizens’ Action Alliance, Tso Chun-to from the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, Tu Wei-da from the Academia Sinica and Vincent Chen from CarbonZeroToo, to discuss the future development of renewable energy, smart cities, as well as energy saving and optimization.

Lastly, Director Liu He-ran concluded the forum with a statement that a low-carbon lifestyle is a must in developing a sustainable future. Calling for close cooperation between public and private sectors, New Taipei City is determined to turn itself into a sustainable city.