Thu, Nov 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese, British energy experts talk climate change

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese and British energy experts yesterday gathered at a forum in Taipei to discuss possible solutions to climate change as well as the opportunities such efforts would bring.

Speaking at the Taiwan-UK Climate Change Forum held at National Taiwan University, British Representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton said climate change is an issue to which Taiwan and Britain attach great importance.

“We are all looking for ways to reduce our emissions and new models to transform our economics. [Such an effort] would create opportunities in the future based on which we could forge cooperation ... that will be beneficial not only to our economies, but also to the Earth,” Nettleton said.

Environmental Protection Administration Chief Secretary Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said he felt the effects of climate change when he traveled to Tuvalu, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific Ocean.

Tsai called Tuvalu a “sinking island,” which is on average only 1.3m above sea level.

That Taiwan’s 400m-high peaks started seeing snowfall a few years ago and the temperature in parts of Japan hit 40°C in July are proof that climate change is affecting people’s lives, Tsai said.

“Fortunately, we have put in place action plans, legislation and systems, with goals being set,” Tsai said, adding that energy transition could help create job opportunities, as it needs to go hand in hand with infrastructural adjustments.

British Special Representative for Climate Change Nick Bridge said the UK has put in place 50 ambitious policies and proposals to promote clean economic growth and tackle climate change with the help of the business, real estate, energy, transportation, natural resources and public sectors.

While some have voiced concerns that reducing carbon emissions could dent economic growth, the UK’s experience has proven that that is not the case, Bridge said.

Through a carbon market, as well as the introduction of a carbon floor price and emissions standards, Britons learned the true cost of carbon emissions and fossil fuels, which drove up the British economy above the G7 average while emissions came down faster than almost anywhere else, he said.

The clean energy sector alone could generate up to £170 billion (US$216 billion) annually in exports and support 400,000 jobs in the UK, Bridge said.

Asked about the possibility of Taiwan and Britain signing a clean-energy agreement to promote cooperation on climate change, Bridge did not give a direct answer, only saying that both sides had a successful energy dialogue in London in the summer.

“We have a second one planned and there is a lot to talk about,” he said.

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