Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Government to reduce CO2 emissions in Taiwan to 2000 levels

The world's dirtiest power plant. Wuchi Power Plant, Taichung, through the haze.

The Government says it will reduce CO2 emissions in Taiwan to 2000 levels but is this enough? According to the Cabinet's chief technology adviser, Lee Yuan-tseh, the government will seek to reduce the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Taiwan to year 2000 levels by 2025. This means that the government needs to cut current greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40 percent.

The desire to reduce CO2 levels is good and we applaud that. However, the Taiwan government and EPA haven't exactly got a good track record when it comes to reducing emissions so naturally environmentalists remain sceptical. It's really time for the government and its agencies like the EPA to put the money where their mouth is and do something to demonstrate their sincerity in reducing emissions.

In 1998, the National Energy Conference reached a temporary agreement under which the government would aim to reduce CO2 emissions in the country to year 2000 levels by 2020. This clearly hasn't been happening nor has there ever been a serious effort to do so. Taiwan has the single largest CO2 emitting power plant on the planet. Taiwan's per capita CO2 emissions are three times the world average. We've watched controversial projects of dubious legality such as the Hushan Dam Project steamrolled through the EIA process. These projects are linked to the development of heavy-polluting industry on Taiwan's west coast. These are developments that will raise the country's alarmingly high emissions level even higher. Hushan Dam, a project that is trashing an internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA) and destroying globally the most important breeding area for the Fairy Pitta is going ahead to meet the water demands of more planned heavy industry. The resulting reduction in the flow of freshwater into the Jhoushui River Estuary will have dire consequences for Taiwan's extremely vulnerable and unique population of humpback dolphin and will degrade critically important waterbird habitat in Dacheng Wetlands, another internationally designated IBA.

If the government is serious about reducing Taiwan's greenhouse gas levels then in the words of Cheng I-chin of the Taiwan Environmental Action Network (TEAN) "The government must reconsider building these monstrosities that would make us international outcasts in the fight against carbon emission reduction."

See Taiwan to push for reduction of CO2 emissions in the Taiwan News.

On a happier note. A more possitive story from today's Taipei Times:
EPA launches campaign to promote 'green hotels'

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