Tue, Sep 30, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Experts urge cooperation on climate

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Academics and environmental protection officials from various countries yesterday underlined the importance of establishing international partnerships to meet the challenges brought by climate change, saying that greenhouse gas reduction and carbon mitigation require the collaborative efforts of members of the international community.

Speaking at this year’s Pan-Pacific Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation conference in Taipei, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois, said that climate change impacts all countries, including Taiwan, which has seen increased tropical storms in recent years.

He said that as an island-nation, Taiwan is more vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change; therefore, in addition to making efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the government should approach these threats in a new light and formulate policies that aid its citizens in the process of adapting to climate change.

Wuebbles called on pan-Pacific countries, including Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, to collaborate on work such as risk assessment and adaptation, and establish partnerships to address the issues brought about by climate change to create a sustainable environment.

Academia Sinica research fellow Liu Shaw-chen (劉紹臣) said that as a result of the higher temperatures seen in the pan-Pacific region — which have increased by 1°C over the past decade or so — the precipitation of torrential rains accompanying tropical storms has tripled, according to statistics produced by analyzing the top 10 percent of tropical storms that hit the region from 1979 to 2007.

The temperature increase, which contributed to a 7 percent rise in vapor in the region, has created a higher level of heat convection and in turn increased the chances of torrential rains, he said, adding that typhoons packing torrential rains will be a major challenge faced by all countries in the pan-Pacific area.

On the other hand, Taiwan has been experiencing more arid periods in which no precipitation is recorded for eight to 14 days, indicating that the possibility of droughts has also increased as a result of climate change, Liu said.

He called on the government to be prepared for typhoons packing extra-heavy rainfall and consider the risks of torrential rains when it embarks on flood mitigation projects.

A more comprehensive assessment of slope developments and the allocation of flood prevention infrastructure should also be high on its priorities, Liu said.

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