Monday, May 26, 2014

Global Warming and Taiwan: Impacts

Happiness. It's what he offers.

As humans are busy boiling the earth to death, I thought I'd collect a few papers... This nifty paper has some public surveys and some thumbnail explanations of Taiwan's failure to do anything about its carbon-intensive industries in the face of global warming.
However, the EPA was enforced to adjust its position on environmental protection. It is because the Executive Yuan is lack of a adequate decision-making structure. Mitigating GHG emissions involves many sectors, but climate issue is oversimplified as a pure environmental issue by political leader in Taiwan. How to response global warming becomes environmental affairs. In these political circumstance, the EPA, one of the smallest ministries in the Executive Yuan, is appointed to manage formulation and implementation national climate policy and the legislative process of the GHGRA. In the end, the EPA can not embrace its pro- environmental position, and it is enforced to take the pro-development position, which is similar to the EPA and those EIIs.

In the level of the Legislative Yuan and the Executive Yuan. Among political leaders, climate change lends itself to gestural politics. Most political leaders claims they are willing to support for the GHGRA, and encourage the Legislative Yuan to pass this act. On the one hand, mitigating GHG emissions become a slogan of political correctness. Seldom of them doubt the necessity of reducing GHG emissions or the scientific certainty of global warming. On the other hand, the draft GHGRA has set aside from 2005 to now.

Most leader are unwilling to pass the GHGRA with legally binding targets, because reducing GHG emissions involve two controversial political issues. The first issue is to adjust domestic industrial structure through changing the long-term low-energy-price policy. Taiwan highly relies on imported energy, as Table 14 shows, but Taiwan’s government, as a typical case of the developmental state, formulated the low-energy-price policy to promote industrial development and economic growth. However, low-energy-price policy leads in the development of these carbon intensive industries. At the same time, most people in Taiwan take using low-price energy for granted. Most political leaders understand that changing low-price energy policy is necessity to meet GHG emission reduction target. However, they perceive that increasing energy price is harmful to their reelections.
And the effect on agricultural pests:
For some insect pests, such as smaller brown planthopper, rice leaf beetle, rice water weevil, Taiwan is considered the south most distribution area. Higher temperature in the summer may cause them to disappear or become the minor pests. Contrarily, for those insect pests that Taiwan is considered their northernmost distribution limit, such as the green rice leafhopper...temperature may help the insect to become more abundant (Cheng 1998).
And from this government report in Taiwan:
Continuous instrumental measurement of climate parameters in Taiwan began in 1896. This century-long record, with almost no missing data, is available from six meteorological stations (Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Hengchun, Taitung, and Hualien) (Figure 12) maintained by the Central Weather Bureau....

....Taiwan shows a significant warming trend. The rise in annual mean temperatures over the last 30, 50, and 100 years all reflects this tendency (Figure 13). Of the six weather stations over the three periods, Taipei shows the most warming and Hengchun the least. In the last 30 years, stations along the west coast show faster warming than those along the east coast. Over the last century, warming has been most prominent in autumn. However, winter has warmed fastest in the last 30 years.

....average annual rain days in Taiwan have decreased significantly. Numbers of rain day have decreased by 4 days per decade in the last 100 years and 6 days per decade.

...Extremely hot days between 2000 and 2009 increased by more than 10 days when compared to the period from 1911 to 1920.

...Cold surge events at all six stations decreased consistently after 1985, which never occurred before 1985...

...Extreme dry spells in Hengchun and Hualien occurred more frequently in the last 30 years than in any other period...
The entire report is beautiful, filled with charts and graphs. Very useful. Finally, global warming and the plant distribution. In addition to upward migration of plants to higher altitudes to escape the heat, that one also predicts rainfall will decrease in the west and increase in the east.
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Jonathan Benda said...
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Michael Turton said...

No idea.

Brian Schack said...

I notice you've been writing a lot about global warming and sustainable energy in the last few weeks. If you haven't read it already, I highly, highly recommend Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, written by David MacKay. David MacKay is a physicist who knows his stuff. The book is beautifully written and illustrated, and gives the reader the tools to cut through the cruft from all sides of the energy debate.

I recommend the printed version, but it is available on-line, for free.

David MacKay FRS said...

Have you seen the "2050 Calculator" for Taiwan?
Here. Launch announcement.
(It is based on the UK's 2050 Calculator,
which is based on (but far more detailed than) Sustainable Energy - without the hot air.

Mike Fagan said...

@David MacKay - the non-partisan balance of your brief discussion on "sustainable use of fossil fuels" could have been greatly improved in one easy way. Just as the consumption rate of electricity does not remain static, neither do coal reserves remain static. Like reserves for other mineral resources generally, coal reserves are shaped by two major dynamics: market prices and mining costs (which subsumes the costs of both technical and political restrictions).

If the rate of increase for market prices for coal exceeds the rate of increase of mining costs, then coal reserves will tend to grow over time rather than remain static - as your discussion assumes.