Sat, Nov 17, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Expert proposes ‘Taipei Solution’ for NY subway

Staff writer, with CNA, New York

An expert on urban natural disasters from Columbia University suggested on Wednesday that the New York City Government study Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit system as a model in disaster prevention and design in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at the New York-based university’s Earth Institute, proposed the “Taipei Solution” at a forum on disaster prevention measures organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York (TECO), the Academic Council on the United Nations System and the university’s Center for Climate Change Law.

Hurricanes like Sandy, which recently ravaged parts of the US east coast, are expected to occur at least once or twice every three years in a span of 70 years, as a result of melting glaciers and rising temperatures and sea levels, Jacob said at the forum called “What is the State of the Art in Preparing for Extreme Weather Events?”

To deal with heavy rainfall, the designers of Taipei’s metro system came up with the solution of elevating the level of station entrances to prevent water from entering underground facilities, Jacob said.

After reviewing public transport networks in the Big Apple, Jacob suggested that the New York City Government install water pumps and gates at all station entrances as part of flood prevention measures.

Liu Shaw-chen (劉紹臣), a research fellow and director of the Research Center for Environmental Changes at Academia Sinica, urged governments around the world to take a series of measures, such as conducting land use surveys and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to help prevent and ease the damage caused by global warming and extreme weather.

Taiwan, which has accumulated substantial knowledge on fighting natural disasters over the years, is willing to share related technology with the international community, TECO Director-General Andrew Kao (高振群) said.

During the forum, Kao expressed the hope that Taiwan could be included in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to help the world tackle environmental issues.

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