A decisive response from all nations, especially the major economies, is key to reaching the desired level of greenhouse gas emissions, and the European Union is sharing its experience with Taiwan to meet its reduction objectives, EU Representative to Taiwan Madeleine Majorenko said Tuesday.
The action plans the Paris Agreement set out are not enough to reach the common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), said at the opening ceremony of the EU Climate Action Week.
"This is why we cannot give up now. We have to continue. We have to do more," Majorenko said, specifically pointing out the need for major economies to take urgent action because together they account for 80 percent of global emissions.
Majorenko said that the EU has already been working with Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to make sure Taiwan's emission reduction systems are functioning.
From the EU's experience, a nation will not lose its economic growth just because it protects its environment, Majorenko said. "It goes hand-in-hand."
The EETO and 15 EU member states with representation in Taiwan released a joint statement Tuesday in which they commended Taiwan on its efforts to address climate change, including a target of sourcing 20 percent renewable energy by 2025 and banning the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.
In the statement, they encouraged Taiwan to continue on this path and to commit to higher standards of greenhouse gas emission reduction.
"As a like-minded partner, we hope that Taiwan will work with us to promote a sustainable global climate system," the statement read.
Timed to coincide with the U.N.'s climate week, the EU Climate Action Week is a weeklong series of activities co-hosted by the EPA and designed to raise awareness and mobilize people to contribute to limiting the effects of climate change.
Of the events is a photography exhibition showcasing the work of British photographer Ashley Cooper, who has traveled extensively over the past 13 years to document images that demonstrate the impact of global warming on people, wildlife and the environment.
"Climate change is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. We need to tackle it together and we need to start tackling it very, very quickly," Cooper said in an accompanying video.
He expressed hope that people in Taiwan will take the opportunity to visit the exhibition at Taipei Spot Sept. 24-30 to see for themselves how climate change is impacting the world.
Tuvalu's Ambassador to Taiwan Limasene Teatu also attended the opening ceremony, followed by a screening of the documentary "Sinking Island" (沈沒之島) by Taiwanese director Huang Hsin-yao (黃信堯) that examines how the Pacific island nation threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming is coping with the challenges.
Meanwhile, Majorenko, a group of European dignitaries and EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) will take part in a Sept. 29 beach cleanup in Bali, New Taipei.
The event will include a ceremony to mark the adoption of the beach by the EETO under the EPA's beach-adoption scheme.