To combat global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, developing renewable energy is the only way to reduce the exploitation of fossil fuel and phase out nuclear energy, visiting Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research director Hans Schellnhuber said that.
Schellnhuber, a joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former US vice president Al Gore, made the remarks in two speeches in Taipei, on Thursday and yesterday.
During a symposium titled “Humanity at the Crossroads” in Taipei on Thursday, Schellnhuber said: “The debate of whether global warming is manmade is over. The question is what we do about it.”
The German researcher proposed the target of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C in 1995, which has been adopted by the German government and the EU and later as a target by governments worldwide.
However, he said that a majority of coral reefs would be lost if global temperatures rise by 1.5°C, which would also cause a slowdown in thermohaline circulation.
“If we burned all the fossil fuels of the planet, all the ice-sheets on the Atlantic Ocean would be melted, and sea levels would rise by 50m,” he said.
Comparing Taiwan with Germany, he said that both countries had depended on coal-fired energy to develop their heavy industry and electronics industry.
The development took its toll in Germany, producing smog and creating a retreating forest line in the Rhine-Ruhr area, after which the country was determined to transition to renewable energy, he said.
Germany aims to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, and phase out nuclear energy by 2022 after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in 2011, he said, adding that Germany could serve as an example for Taiwan for how to successfully transition from coal-fired energy to renewable energy.
Schellnhuber added that although Germany’s carbon emissions rose when the nation started to decommission its nuclear power plants, the emissions later decreased when a renewable energy power grid was developed, and now the county’s power industry has a 50 percent oversupply.
That nuclear energy could guarantee the energy security is a misconception, and all we need is time to transition from nuclear and coal-fired energy to renewable energy, he said. Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan put forward an intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) on Thursday, specifying that Taiwan would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) said the INDC was based on the scenario that three of the nation’s active nuclear plants would be decommissioned and the now-mothballed nuclear power plant be activated.
Separately, in a talk with Wei at the EPA headquarters in Taipei yesterday, Schellnhuber said it is very encouraging that Taiwan voluntarily proposed the INDC and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (溫室氣體減量法) in June, adding that Taiwan is taking the global responsibility unilaterally, given that the county is not an official member of the UN or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, Taiwan could make a difference by setting an example in the region and influencing China, which accounts for 23 percent of global carbon emissions, he said.
To reach the INDC goal, Taiwan could replace gas-powered scooters with electric models, develop offshore wind power and replace concrete with natural building materials, he said.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on