Taiwan scientists plead for emergency climate action

Largest plain in Taiwan could be lost if global warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius

(Facebook, Guandu Nature Park photo)

(Facebook, Guandu Nature Park photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 143 scientists from Taiwan have signed a petition to call for immediate action to address the climate emergency.

Led by seven of the nation's environmental experts, the initiative involves 143 scientists from 82 academic and research units. They are demanding the same amount of attention and resources to counter climate change as has been pledged for the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Chou Kuei-tien (周桂田), leader of the Science Media Center, an inter-disciplinary platform for scientific news in Taiwan, the government should implement a clear carbon reduction roadmap. He blamed the government for a lackluster climate action response compared to its impressive handling of the Wuhan virus, at a press event on Tuesday (April 21), wrote CNA.

Taiwan is susceptible to natural hazards such as storm surges and rough seas and therefore at risk from costal erosion, said Hsu Tai-wen (許泰文), vice president of National Taiwan Ocean University. Extreme weather events could lead to the loss of mangroves and wetlands, and even the disappearance of the Jianan Plain (嘉南平原), the largest plain in the country, should global warming reach 2 degrees Celsius, warned Hsu.

Taiwan needs to do more to protect its mangroves and seagrasses. They play a vital role in blue carbon ecosystems, or carbon sequestration by ocean ecosystems, noted Lin Hsing-juh (林幸助), a professor at National Chung Hsing University’s Department of Life Sciences.

The climate emergency declaration is a campaign that started in 2016 and has garnered the support of more than 1,400 local governments in 28 countries.

“Climate emergency” was selected as the word of the year for 2019 by Oxford Dictionaries, defining the term as “a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.”