Monday, April 19, 2010

Carbon Emissions Contextualization

EPA Minister Shen promoted a new campaign to get locals to reduce their carbon emissions (Liberty Times via Taiwan Today):
Organized by the nongovernmental Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy, the event captured the attentions of commuters with a giant balloon display.

“Our balloon represents monthly emissions produced by one person in Taiwan,” a TISE staffer said. “The population of Taiwan generates enough emissions to fill 270 million such inflatables, which strung together could cover the distance between the earth and the moon four times.”

The TISE said Taiwan’s population is responsible for per capita emissions 2.76 times the world average, which is about 12 metric tons a year. “If a balloon were filled with this amount, it would be 10 meters in diameter, or about three-floors high,” the staffer said.

While acknowledging that people need to cut their own emissions, TISE Chairman Eugene Chien said industry must play a greater role in effecting the country’s low-carbon transformation.

Chien said the corporate sector produced almost half of Taiwan’s total emissions in 2007. “The government must place stricter regulations on high energy-consuming industries and help them transform.”

The chairman believes this measure is necessary if the Cabinet-level EPA’s goal of slashing emissions by 210 million metric tons is to be achieved by 2020.
A friend, Tammy Turner, notes (emphasis mine):
With reference to emissions targets and climate change, according to 綠盟能源與氣候變遷小組 (Energy and Climate Change working group of the Environmental Protection Union - Taiwan), there is a very big gap between what the government is doing and saying. Here's a quick translation of their Facebook post on the topic (original Chinese below):

"The enemy at the gate to a low-carbon future (in Taiwan): According to calculations, the total CO2 emissions derived from the development projects that have already been passed by the EIA commission and will go online within the next 5 years will amount to 36 million tons. Then add to this the three projects that are currently under EIA review,the Kuoguang Petrochemical Plant, fifth-stage expansion of Formosa Plastics Sixth Naptha Cracker Plant, and the Changhwa Coal-fired Power Plant, the total emissions for these projects will reach 31.34 million tons. Once these projects are passed, even if every person in Taiwan were to stop using electricity and stop driving it would be impossible to offset the increased emissions from these projects. And although the current government administration (in Taiwan) has announced emissions reduction targets of bringing emissions back down to 2000 levels by the year 2025, a gap of 100 million tons currently exists."

Is the government serious? It almost looks like they are hoping they can offset the massive emissions from Taiwan's coal plants -- the one in Taichung is the world leader and the one in Mailiao is number 5, with the one coming online in Changhua number 4 -- with reductions in household emissions. Good luck with that.
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Ben Goren said...

"Once these projects are passed, even if every person in Taiwan were to stop using electricity and stop driving it would be impossible to offset the increased emissions from these projects." - deeply scary. Thanks for bringing this to our attentions ...

TheLostSwede said...

Sounds like the usual crap the government here spreads...
But then again, this seem to be a common view shared by many countries, it's down to the population to reduce their carbon emissions, while big companies and power plants etc. gets away with doing whatever they want, as long as they don't move elsewhere.