UK special representative for climate change David King yesterday expressed his support for Taiwan’s bid to participate in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and encouraged the country to proceed with its plans on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, an official said yesterday.
Zhang Ming-zhong (張銘忠), director-general of European affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remark following a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and King earlier yesterday.
King “responded positively” to Ma’s appeal over access to UNFCCC meetings and activities, with the president saying the nation is being excluded from the global response to climate change, Zhang told reporters.
According to a press release from the Presidential Office, Ma told King that Taiwan was denied the right to become a party to the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC, and that the country can only be represented by non-governmental organizations at the annual Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC.
“Nevertheless, my country is determined to realize energy savings and reduce carbon emissions,” Ma said.
Ma said the nation’s efforts to cut carbon emissions have borne fruit since his first administration in 2008.
Carbon emissions from fuel combustion have dropped near 2005 levels, said Ma, whose campaign pledge in 2008 was to cut them down to 2008 levels by 2020 and further to 2000 levels by 2025.
Statistics released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showed that from 2008 to 2011, Taiwan’s fossil fuel carbon emissions dropped by an average of 0.9 percent, while carbon emissions per US dollar of GDP fell by an average of 4.4 percent, Ma said.
During the period, world energy-related carbon emissions increased by an average of 1.7 percent, while carbon emissions per US dollar of GDP edged up 0.2 percent, Ma added.
IEA data released last year showed that in 2011, Taiwan’s carbon emissions totaled 265 million tonnes, placing it 23rd worldwide, while carbon emissions per capita reached 11.31 tonnes, the 21st-highest in the world, Ma said.
This represented an improvement from six years earlier when Taiwan ranked as the 18th-biggest emitter in the world in per capita terms, Ma said.
Although the UK is a country that has abundant oil and natural gas resources, and actively engages in developing renewable energy, such as wind power and tidal power, the country continues to advance its nuclear energy, even after the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident in Japan in 2011, with a plan to build a new nuclear power plant in progress, Ma said.
The UK’s energy policy was prompted by the fact that supplies of fossil fuels are limited and will run out one day, making increasing carbon emissions an immense threat to the global environment, Ma said.
“That said, reduction of carbon emissions is more important than abolish the use of nuclear power. We have much to learn from the UK’s energy policy,” he said.
King encouraged Taiwan to continue to work on emissions reduction to reach the global annual target of less than 2 tonnes per capita, Zhang said.