Taiwan’s Proposals and Visions
By Stephen Shu-hung Shen, Minister, Taiwan EPA
Climate change caused by global warming that is induced by human activity is one of the toughest challenges the world is facing. Through more than two decades of international cooperation, Taiwan has been successfully introducing advanced policies and technologies into its environmental protection infrastructure. As a result, Taiwan’s environment has significantly improved, the public’s environmental awareness has been heightened, and in 2008 carbon dioxide emissions have decreased for the first time. In 2008, Taiwan’s total carbon dioxide emission from energy sectors was less than 257 million metric tons, which marked a 4.4% decrease compared to the previous year, while the per capita emission dropped 4.8% to 11.2 metric tons.
Taiwan’s environmental protection experience is now available to be shared with other nations. Taiwan intends to work with the international community to combat climate change through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to safeguard environmental and human health at the national, regional and global levels. The Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (Taiwan EPA) therefore proposes two international cooperation schemes on climate change mitigation. They are the Overseas Carbon Reduction Cooperation Program and Taiwan’s Initiative: International Cooperation on Efficient Utilization of Global Fossil Fuels and Biomass Energy.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou considers climate change mitigation a top priority of his administration. In 2008, the Taiwan government announced voluntary carbon dioxide reduction targets: for the period between 2016 and 2020, the goal is to return to 2008 emission levels; and by 2050, to return to 50% of 2000 levels. Keeping Taiwan’s unique political situation in mind, the Taiwan EPA is actively seeking cooperation with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Annex I nations to help emitting entities in Taiwan meet their reduction requirements and to assist developing nations in cutting their carbon emissions via clean development. The Taiwan EPA will facilitate Taiwan’s emitting entities in establishing corporations in Annex I nations; through these overseas corporations, emitting entities will make investments in clean development projects in developing nations that cut carbon emissions under the UNFCCC guidelines. The carbon credits thus acquired will then be used to offset emissions in Taiwan. Via cooperation with Annex I and developing nations, Taiwan expects to reach the previously outlined reduction targets, as well as helping to reduce global carbon emissions.
To cut the global carbon emission efficiently, Taiwan proposes a global initiative so that the most efficient way of utilizing global fossil and biomass energy can be realized in 40 years through international cooperation. Considering that pure electric vehicles possess the highest energy efficiency at least four times that of conventional vehicles, and using low-temperature torrefaction to convert bio-fuel to eco-coal for cogeneration is the most efficient way of harnessing biomass energy, Taiwan would like to present a vision regarding international cooperation on efficient utilization of global fossil fuel and biomass energy for electricity generation and heat supply. The initiative involves the following: Power plants should be located in the most heat demanding temperate and frigid zones, while the tropical and subtropical zones are supplied by transmitted electricity. Such a design can produce the highest energy efficiency globally. Future fossil fuels and eco-coal produced in the tropical and subtropical zones are transported to the temperate and frigid zones for cogeneration to provide the world with electricity including powering electric vehicles. Through this proposed global cooperation, the most efficient way of energy utilization can be reached.
In the future, Taiwan’s international cooperation will focus on continuously introducing advanced environmental management and technology to improve local environmental quality; to continue the sharing of Taiwan’s experience and expertise in order to assist other nations in solving environmental problems; to participate in international organizations and conferences which set environmental guidelines; to continue to follow the international trends in protecting the Earth’s environment; and to promote the Overseas Carbon Reduction
Cooperation Project and Taiwan’s Initiative: International Cooperation on Efficient Utilization of Global Fossil and Biomass Energy in order to mitigate climate change. Taiwan expects that local, regional and global environmental protection tasks will be accelerated through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in safeguarding environmental quality, human health and sustainable development.
Stephen Shu-hung Shen, the Minister of the Environmental Protection Agency of Taiwan, is one of the most prominent scholars and policymakers of environmental protection and planning in Taiwan. For over 25 years he has held senior positions with the Environmental Protection Agency of Taiwan, the National Science Council of Taiwan. He received his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the National Taiwan University in 1982.
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