Fri, Dec 06, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Candidates must address climate change, group says

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, winning in the Jan. 11 elections should clarify the nation’s energy transformation path through 2050 and plan “carbon pricing,” especially as local greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, environmental protection activists said on Wednesday.

Environmental group Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan deputy executive Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said that the nation’s presidential candidates have made little effort to address the climate crisis, adding that Spain stood up for the issue when it took over as host of the 25th UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP25, which started on Monday, after Chile backed out in October.

The nation needs a long-term plan for energy transformation, from 2025 to 2050, in addition to the government’s goal to increase the gas-fired power ratio to 50 percent and renewable energy to 20 percent, reduce coal-fired power to 30 percent, and phase out nuclear power by 2025, group energy section director Lee Han-lin (李翰林) said.

Echoing UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for “carbon pricing” on Monday, Lee called for an energy or carbon tax to push carbon emitters to pay for their pollution.

Many power generation plants and industrial boilers in central and southern Taiwan are still burning coal or oil, and the government should implement pollution control plans targeting major polluters and help replace oil-burning boilers with gas-fired ones, he said.

Vehicle emissions make up nearly 13.5 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions and 26 percent of the total air pollution consisting of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, he said, adding that the government should give more incentives to own electrical vehicles.

While the Cabinet last year vowed to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered scooters by 2035 and gasoline-powered cars by 2040, the policy was scrapped after the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) losses in last year’s local elections, Lee said.

He also urged for more civil participation in energy policy making, saying that controversy over the use of land for solar panel installation projects could have been avoided had the developers conducted more careful environmental and social impact assessments.

Regarding the energy policy of Taiwan’s two major parties, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) scores zero, while the DPP scores only 50 points, National Dong Hwa University environmental studies professor Tai Hsing-sheng (戴興盛) said.

The evaluation judges if a party promotes renewable energy with limited environmental impact along with plans to curb the growth in energy demand, he said, adding that the KMT made no progress as it only seeks to extend the use of nuclear power generation facilities.

While the DPP has made some achievements in developing renewable power over the past three years, it has yet to address rising energy demands, Tai said, adding that an energy or carbon tax could lower energy consumption.

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