The government could allow industries to plant trees in China and other countries to help reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, an official said yesterday.
Under a bill proposed by the Cabinet, authorities would place caps on the amount of carbon dioxide that major industries are allowed to emit annually. The legislature is expected to approve the bill soon, officials said.
Stephen Shen (沈世宏), head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), told lawmakers that companies may choose to grow trees, which can absorb carbon dioxide, in Taiwan or in other countries to help reach the emission targets by offsetting some of their gas emissions.
“Carbon dioxide emissions cause warming globally, not just in Taiwan,” he said.
Some industries say they cannot find enough land to plant trees domestically.
Officials say oil refineries, power plants and steel, chemical and plastics factories together accounted for more than 50 percent of the 268 million tonnes of greenhouse gases produced by the nation last year.
The government has pledged to gradually cut its greenhouse gases so that its 2016 total would not exceed this year’s level.
The government has said it will plant 60,000 hectares of forest in the next few years to help reach that goal.
Taiwan is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
But as a major trader, Taiwan wants to contain its greenhouse gases to prevent other countries from imposing barriers on its products on environmental grounds.
In related news, the EPA yesterday encouraged consumers to help fight global warming by shopping in stores that display “Green Store” certificates and purchase eco-friendly products that carry the EPA’s “Green Mark.”
“In observance of World Environment Day tomorrow, the EPA has planned an array of activities with a central theme of promoting a low carbon economy,” the EPA Air Quality Protection and Noise Control director-general Hsiao Hui-chuan (蕭慧娟) said.
Though the concept of “green consumption” may sound like an oxymoron, Yang Ching-shi (楊慶熙), the director-general of the EPA’s department of supervision evaluation and dispute resolution, said that shopping green means offering more sustainable options to the public when they purchase necessities.
“When we say green consumption, we are telling the public to choose products friendly to the environment when they need to buy things. However, we still encourage people to abstain from buying unnecessary things,” Yang said.
With this in mind, the EPA refrains from giving Green Marks to products it does not deem as life necessities, such as disposable diapers or kitchen napkins, he said.
Beyond promoting the green concept, the EPA also aims to remind businesses to keep sustainability in mind while fixing their eyes upon the economy.
“[The administration] started issuing Green Store certificates to retailers who carry three or more Green Mark products this year, with the goal of raising the certification threshold when more stores begin to sell green products,” he said.
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