TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Environmental group Greenpeace has urged Taiwan’s 2020 presidential candidates to put forth policies in response to the issue of climate change as Taiwan is listed in the top 25 countries in the world with highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, according to a United Daily News (UDN) report on Sunday (Oct. 13).
The school strike launched by Swedish girl Greta Thunberg (桑柏格) attracted 6 million people around the world to take to the street to call public attention to the climate change issue. In Taiwan, instead of organizing street protests, Greenpeace and other groups such as Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC) have called on all 2020 presidential candidates to directly respond to the issue, the UDN reported.
A Greenpeace opinion poll showed that most people in Taiwan opined that presidential candidates should face up to the crisis brought by climate change by putting forth energy policies that can respond to the trend of converting to recyclable energies, including solar energy, wind power, terrestrial heat, tidal energy, and biomass energy, according to the UDN report.
Greenpeace energy project director Tsai Tu-wei (蔡篤慰) said that according to the data of the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research, Taiwan’s per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were 12.01 tonnes in 2018, which ranked 25th in the world and much higher than the global average of 4.97 tonnes. Taiwan's per capita CO2 emissions were higher than those of Singapore (9.65 tonnes), Germany (9.15 tonnes), and even China (7.95 tonnes), according to the report.
According to the EDGAR data, Palau’s per capita emissions of 57.95 tonnes of CO2 were the highest in the world in 2018. Russian per capita emissions of 12.14 tonnes of CO2 were slightly higher than that of Taiwan.
"However, per capita emissions and total annual emissions are different. China is, by a significant margin, Asia’s and the world’s largest emitter: it emits nearly 10 billion tonnes each year, more than one-quarter of global emissions," says an article titled "CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emission" published in Our World in Data in May 2017 and updated in October 2018.
Tsai said that even though Taiwan's ranking has not changed over the past four years, the country's per capita CO2 emissions have grown by 1.5 percent every year.
A Greenpeace research report showed that if Taiwan and the rest of the world are not actively cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases, it’s predicted that 1.2 million Taiwanese and a total area of 1,397 square kilometers in the country will be affected by rising sea levels by 2025, urging Taiwan to treat the issue as an emergency, according to the UDN report.