Wed, Dec 16, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Academics urge roadmap on climate policymaking

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The government should lay the foundation for developing green finance, climate insurance, carbon trading and energy transition following the conclusion of a historic global climate agreement, Taiwanese academics who attended the UN climate conference in Paris said yesterday.

Sharing his observations of the Paris meeting at a press conference in the Legislative Yuan, National Tsing Hua University law professor Fan Chien-te (范建得) said: “The Paris agreement clearly dictates a future development roadmap in terms of climate funding and policymaking, energy transition and carbon trading, and Taiwan must prepare for new development trends even though it is not a signatory of the agreement.”

Global climate finance — which refers to local, national or transnational financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation — was worth US$331 billion in 2013, but the government has yet to allocate a climate budget, which can be counted against the nation’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Fan said, adding that this has further excluded the nation from the international framework.

As an island nation, Taiwan is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, so a multifunctional climate insurance mechanism should be established to cover losses and damage caused by an increasingly volatile climate, he said.

The post-2020 Paris climate agreement would give rise to regional and international carbon trading networks, which would exclude non-signatories of the agreement, and Taiwan must set up measures in response to member-exclusive carbon trading blocs, he said.

The Paris agreement also points toward a fossil fuel-free development, as member countries said they would move toward zero greenhouse gas emission and fossil fuel phase-out in the late mid 21st-century, he said.

Taiwan should facilitate energy transition to prevent local companies from lagging behind the competition when international firms shift to alternative fuels after their governments stop subsidizing fossil fuels, he said.

“For Taiwan, one of the most important things of the Paris conference is carbon pricing, which means there is a cost for carbon emissions, so emissions must be measured and controlled,” National Taiwan University politics professor Lin Tze-luen (林子倫) said.

Although the Environmental Protection Administration has set a national carbon emission reduction goal, which aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 under the business-as-usual model, Taiwan has yet to have its own national climate strategy, Lin said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋菫) said that the sovereignty issue is the main obstacle to Taiwan’s participation in carbon trading, as China might lay claim to Taiwan’s emission volumes and quota once Taiwan enters the market.

Tien also called for the legislation of an energy tax to put into force the “users pay” principle.

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