EPA works with business to cut gases

GLOBAL WARMING: The government wants to make sure that companies are able to meet the Kyoto Treaty's standards on greenhouse gas emissions

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 2

Aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will sign formal memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with associations of industries making semiconductors and thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT-LCD) at the end of this year to ensure that this country will shoulder its responsibilities for global sustainable development.

Since the 1980s, scientific evidence has shown the correlation between global warming and emission of certain gases. Scientists agree that the concentration of "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere is increasing and that the world is getting warmer.

Six greenhouse gases are covered under the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty set by the UN to set quantified targets for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by industrialized countries, and to establish policies and measures according to the specific circumstances of the countries involved.

Although Taiwan is not a member of the UN, EPA officials said that the country would never try to dodge its responsibilities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

In addition to carbon dioxide, Taiwan needs to curb its emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) produced by the production of semiconductors and TFT-LCDs, the officials said. Taiwanese companies now share more than 30 percent of the global market in these industries.

"We need to be well-prepared. If not, domestic firms in these industries might fail to meet environmental demands from the international community," Deputy EPA Administrator Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said yesterday at a press conference.

According to Leu Horng-guang (呂鴻光), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control, PFC emissions have a much greater effect on global warming than an equal amount of carbon dioxide.

For the semiconductor industry, a global voluntary target is to bring the average emission levels of PFCs in 1997 to 1998 down by 10 percent by 2010. The Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association is committed to that goal.

The Taiwan TFT-LCD Association has reached a consensus with its counterparts in Japan and South Korea to reduce the aggregate absolute emissions of PFCs from the TFT-LCD fabrication facilities to less than 0.82 MMTCE (million tonnes of carbon equivalent) by the year 2010.

"The EPA will help the two associations to reach global goals aiming to reduce the emission of PFCs by offering up-to-date information, auditing local greenhouse gas emissions and seeking possible substitutes," Leu said.

Inspired by a recently-released film The Day After Tomorrow, Leu said that the EPA had asked its research associates to produce a short film showing how the Taipei metropolitian area would be effected by such massive flooding.

The scenario will be based on the scientific assumption that concentration of carbon dioxide of the planet will double its 1990 level.

The short film will be distributed to schools for environmental education at the end of this year.