Mon, Dec 06, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Treat emission reduction practically, legislators say

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan should make efforts to curb greenhouse emissions independently, with its own national strategies, rather than act irresponsibly and throw in its lot with China in a bid to dodge international pressure in the future, Taiwanese legislators and environmentalists said yesterday.

The call was delivered in Taipei on the eve of the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will start today in Buenos Aires.

As the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force on Feb. 16, many related issues are expected to be discussed at the two-week conference, which will gather some 5,000 participants from the convention's 189 parties, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations and the media.

Taiwan's Enivornmental Protection Administration has organized a delegation comprised of members from the government, industry and academia to observe the conference.

At a press conference held yesterday by the Taiwan Climate Protection Coalition, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Eugene Jao (趙永清) said that there would be no room for the "one China" policy on international environmental issues.

"Some people believe that combining Taiwan's emission [allowance under the Kyoto Protocol] with China's will delay the arrival of international pressure on our economic development. It's morally irresponsible and politically unacceptable," Jao said.

Under the 1997 UN framework convention, industrialized countries ratifying the Kyoto Protocol must reduce their emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period from 2008 to 2012, to 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels of emission. But the responsibilities to be shared by non-industrialized countries, such as China, in the years after 2012 remain uncertain.

"Taiwan is not part of China. The ruling DPP will map out Taiwan's strategies and we legislators will set up laws regulating emissions of greenhouse gases as soon as possible," Jao said.

Eric Liou (劉銘龍), secretary-general of the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation and one of founders of the coalition, said adjusting industrial policies would be one of the most effective means for Taiwan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"If the government allows the industrial giant Formosa Plastics Corp to build a steel-making plant, which is expected to emit 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or one tenth of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions, we can't be optimistic about Taiwan's development in the following two decades," Liou said.

Formosa Plastics has been waiting for the government's approval since last week, when it submitted a development proposal about a steel-making plant, which is designed to produce 10 million tonnes of steel annually, Liou said.

Internationally, Taiwan should aggressively find ways to boost its investment in bilateral collaborative projects with others in order to broaden diplomatic territory effectively, Liou said.

Liu Chung-ming (柳中明), a professor of atmospheric sciences at National Taiwan University, said better policies tackling devastating weather are needed, because signs of abnormal climate effects have been observed in recent years. For instance, Taiwan is normally struck by three to five typhoons in summer and early fall. However, in both 2001 and this year, Taiwan was hit by nine typhoons.

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