Cities vow to reduce gas emissions

CLEANING UP: Representatives from three Taiwanese cities pledged to make the big cuts as part of an agreement reached at an international meeting in Bali

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Fri, Dec 14, 2007 - Page 2

Taipei City, Taichung City and Kaohsiung City have vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 at a global meeting being held in Bali, Indonesia, government sources said yesterday.

According to the sources, the proposed cuts are part of an agreement reached at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Alongside the conference, which ends today, is the third meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The Climate Protection Agreement was signed by the members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the World Mayors Council on Climate Change and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

Taipei and Kaohsiung attended the conference as ICLEI members, while Taichung is a UCLG member. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) was elected to the UCLG board of directors last month.

Kaohsiung is confident that it will achieve the goal by 2050, a spokesman for the city's Environmental Protection Bureau said during an interview yesterday.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) has already pledged to cut the port city's carbon emissions year by year, the spokesman noted, adding that at present, factory chimneys in the city are monitored by computer.

If an unusual situation occurs, Bureau Director Hsiao Yu-cheng will immediately receive a text message and the bureau will send officials to inspect the situation at once, the spokesman said.

Taiwan is under no obligation to comply with the Kyoto Protocol because it is not a member of the UN and so was not entitled to sign it Thus it does not need to cut carbon emissions by 2012, when the protocol expires, the spokesman said.

However, the Executive Yuan has submitted a bill to the legislature aimed at reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030, the spokesman said.

The legislature has not yet passed its third and final reading of the bill, according to the spokesman.

Also See: EDITORIAL: The environment must come first