Republic of Kiribati President Anote Tong yesterday called for cooperation among countries to tackle changes brought on by climate change, saying that it is a moral issue with responsibility shared by all nations.
Delivering a speech at the 44th annual conference of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Union (APPU) in Taipei, Tong said that “business as usual is no longer an option” for climate change mitigation efforts.
In face of global warming, “low-lying countries will be the first to disappear,” Tong said, as he urged leaders of each country to take on more responsibility for the harm done through climate change.
The annual conference attracted 84 lawmakers from 14 countries in the region to discuss strategies on how to work together to manage natural disasters and foster regional collaboration on emergency relief.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday was invited to address the audience at the opening ceremony of the three-day APPU General Assembly.
Ma said in English that he was really impressed by the importance the APPU members have attached to issues of climate change and disaster relief.
Due to the exclusion of Taiwan from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Taiwan takes climate change very seriously, he said.
Ma said the country is in a good position to achieve his administration’s goals of bringing national carbon dioxide emissions back to 2005 levels by 2020, and further to 2000 levels by 2025 — if the nation is able to increase energy efficiency by 2.3 percent each year.
“Taiwan in 2006 was responsible for 1 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and now it is 0.8 percent. In terms of per capita emissions, Taiwan was down from 18th in the world to 23rd. We have done our part, despite not being a signatory to the UNFCCC or the Kyoto Protocol, because, after all, the Republic of China is a responsible stakeholder in the international community. We will continue to do that,” Ma said.