Sat, Nov 04, 2006 - Page 2 News List

UK's climate review has a message for Taiwan too

HEATING UP The study presents a grim scenario on global warming, the effects of which are already being felt in Taiwan, but it's not too late to do something about it

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) in Taiwan yesterday jointly addressed the potentially dire consequences of global climate change.

At a press conference held at the EPA headquarters in Taipei both organizations focused on the conclusions of the Stern Review published in London last month.

The author, Nicholas Stern, head of the UK Government Economic Service, was commissioned by British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown to conduct a study correlating global climate change and its impact on the world economy.

BTCO Director Michael Reilly said the review presents "overwhelming" evidence about the reality of climate change and its potential impact but it noted that there remains time to prevent the worst scenarios from happening if action is taken immediately.

According to Reilly, the review estimated that the cost of global climate change could reach the equivalent of 5 percent of global GDP each year. When factoring in the impact of global climate change on human life and the environment, global GDP losses could exceed 20 percent annually.

"In contrast, the cost of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impact of climate change can be limited to around 1 percent of global GDP each year," he said.

Besides the consequences, the review listed three recommendations that governments could implement to handle climate change including setting a carbon-pricing policy, encouraging the development and consumption of low-carbon and high-efficiency products and taking action to remove barriers to energy efficiency.

Reilly also made the point in his presentation that the goal of lowering carbon dioxide emissions is not incompatible with economic growth.

In the UK, for example, the low-carbon industry has helped generate 230,000 jobs. Globally, two million jobs have been created due to the recent growth of the green industry.

Reilly went on to mention how a number of successful companies around the world, such as British Petroleum (BP) and IBM, had witnessed profit growth thanks to measures taken to reduce to greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same event EPA minister Chang Kow-lung (張國龍) said that a bill to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gas had been preliminarily approved by the Executive Yuan.

The bill is now set to be passed in the Legislative Yuan, Chang said, adding that Taiwan will become the first of the non-signatories of the Kyoto Protocol to pass a bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Global climate change has already begun to affect Taiwan, Chang said.

For example, the mosquitoes responsible for the spread of dengue fever were previously found mainly in regions of Taiwan located below the Tropic of Cancer. Now they are also found above the Tropic of Cancer.

"Global climate change is no longer only an environmental issue," Chang said, "It is an issue of social justice as the poor and the weak will be directly affected by it."

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