A coalition of environmental and Aboriginal campaigners yesterday staged a climate emergency demonstration in Taipei, calling on the government to hold a national conference to propose concrete climate action.
The march was mainly organized by the Air Clean Taiwan (ACT) to echo worldwide movements inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Participants started gathering outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei at 1pm, and marched to the Democratic Progressive Party headquarters and the Executive Yuan to submit their appeals.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Students and advocates in other cities also gathered to form the characters 1.5°C on campuses or in public squares for aerial photographs.
Global temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5°C by some time between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current rate, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year.
By 2030, human-induced carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels, to reach “net zero” by about 2050, it said.
To shape a carbon emission-free society for younger generations, the government should announce a state of emergency and convene a national conference in three months to tackle the effects of climate change, ACT chairman Yeh Guang-peng (葉光芃) told a news conference before the march.
“We hope that Aborigines in mountainous areas can pass every rainy season safely,” said As Li-i Mali, a Papora member of the Central Taiwan Pingpu Indigenous Groups Youth Alliance.
The Pingpu people, also known as plains Aborigines, have traditionally lived in Taiwan’s lowland areas, but have not yet obtained legal status.
Extreme rainfall last week caused landslides in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛) and obstructed local roads to the point that children could not go to school and farmers could not transport their produce to markets, she said, asking if Taipei residents were aware of their predicament.
The 32-year-old — who is also known by her Chinese name, Su Hsin (蘇莘) — last year gave speeches at side events during the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, along with the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition.
“Aborigines would not overuse the land, cut down trees randomly or use pesticides on crops, because they are aware that they have to protect Mother Earth,” she said, adding that she hopes to share Aboriginal ideas about disaster prevention that put less emphasis on cement structures.
Former premier William Lai (賴清德) and former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) attended the march separately.
However, some people accused Lai of failing to protect Taoyuan’s algal reefs from a liquefied natural gas terminal project during his premiership.
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