Tue, Apr 10, 2007 - Page 2 News List

EPA starts global warming campaign to educate the public

CLIMATE EVENTSThe EPA has decided to cooperate with the popular National Geographic Channel in Taiwan and hold a series of events to observe Earth Day

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students from Dung-guang Elementary School in Taichung City yesterday hold up corn that they are helping to plant in an effort to combat climate change by growing plants that absorb carbon dioxide.

PHOTO: SU MENG-CHUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

Officials at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) called for a change in the nation's industrial structure yesterday, as the average amount of carbon dioxide each person in Taiwan emits per year is now three times the global average.

"Manufacturers in Taiwan must start focusing on two things," said Yeh Fung-luh (葉芳露), a section chief at the Bureau of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control. "They must try to conserve energy during the manufacturing process and they must also aim to develop products that consume less energy."

Yeh's statement came as a response to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released last year, in which it said that, in 2005, each person in Taiwan generated an average of 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The average global emission per person during the same year was four tonnes per person.

Young Chea-yuan (楊之遠), the director-general of the Air Quality Protection and Noise Control department, said yesterday that a recent report published by the Intra-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- an organization that examines greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on climate change at the UN -- has estimated that global temperatures will rise in the next few years. The report also said that some countries in Africa could potentially suffer more droughts in the next 50 years.

Young said that the climate in Taiwan may also get drier, adding that the Hsinchu Science Park and the Reservoir in Shimen (石門) might suffer water shortages in the future.

Meanwhile, statistics released by the Central Weather Bureau yesterday painted an equally bleak picture of global climate change.

During the last century, residents in Taipei have experienced on average 19.7 days a year when the daily temperature has exceeded 35oC. Within the past decade, however, that number has increased to 33.7 days a year. Twice within the past five years high temperatures of 35oC and above have lasted for over 40 days.

Also, compared to the past century, the relative humidity in Taipei has decreased approximately 5 percent.

To educate the public about the consequences of global warming, the EPA has decided to cooperate with the National Geographic Channel in Taiwan and hold a series of events to observe International Earth Day which falls on April 22.

EPA Minister Chang Kow-lung (張國龍) will be the official spokesperson of the campaign.

The campaign will include 24-hours of TV programs on global warming and its impact on the global environment to be broadcast on Earth Day. An online quiz will also be held whereby the public can test their knowledge of global warming and its related issues. Anybody with a perfect score on the quiz will be entered into a drawing for a free trip to the Amazon rain forest.

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