A Taiwan-UK forum on low-carbon and sustainable development opened yesterday with the aim of sharing the UK’s experience in the development of low-carbon cities and exploring future bilateral business opportunities.
Hosted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO), the Low-Carbon and Sustainable City Forum offers a platform for participants to discuss future trends and how businesses can benefit from the global low-carbon trend, the organizers said.
BTCO director David Campbell said he hopes to boost Taiwan-UK cooperation by pursuing opportunities in sustainable development through bilateral discussions in the areas of carbon trading, energy efficiency and offshore wind and marine energy.
“It is not an easy task to start this journey, but I do believe this will prove to be a key development in Taiwan’s transition to a low carbon economy,” Campbell said at the event’s opening.
The global industry in low-carbon and environmental goods and services is already estimated to be worth nearly US$5 trillion a year. Some predictions say that the value of the environmental sector could reach US$7 trillion by 2015, the organizers said.
EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said in his opening remarks that the UK has played a leading role in the development of low carbon and sustainable cities, and that Taiwan can learn from its valuable experience.
The day-long event, which attracted hundreds of experts, industry heavyweights and government officials from the two countries, features topics ranging from green infrastructure and buildings to sustainable transport and energy recovery processes.
Keith Thorpe, an official at the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government, shared his experiences in a speech in which he said that cities are well-placed to take the lead in tackling climate change.
Cities are often centers of new thinking and policy innovation, Thorpe said, adding that city dwellers are usually major energy users and should be more conscious of the consequences of their actions.
In addition, campaigning cities can put pressure on governments and change political conditions, he said. Coordination frameworks should be more bottom-up and top-down — reflecting local visions and aspirations rather than simply national targets, he added.
Wang Mei-wen, a deputy department chief in charge of environmental affairs at the New Taipei City (新北市) Government, said her city, which accounts for 6 percent of Taiwan’s territory, aims to become a low-carbon city in line with the global trend.
The city has also set sustainable energy development goals that aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 2008 levels by 2016, and to 80 percent of the 2006 level of 14.7 million tonnes by 2026, she said.
Aiming to achieve the goal of zero carbon emissions in the future, Wang said the city is working to enhance energy efficiency, constructing green infrastructure and buildings, and developing low-carbon public transportation.
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