Ralph's Feed
Mar 16, 2010

Taiwan says to cut CO2 emissions 30 pct by 2020

TAIPEI, March 16 (Reuters) – Taiwan has pledged to sharply cut the growth of its carbon emissions as part of global efforts to fight climate change, officials said on Tuesday.

The move by the wealthy island known as a global electronics manufacturing centre is part of the government’s goal to boost Taiwan’s profile and to try to win approval for some sort of U.N. role that has been repeatedly blocked by China.

Carbon dioxide emissions from all sources island-wide, from farms to factories, should drop by 2020 to 2005 levels of about 257 million metric tonnes, or at least 30 percent below the 2020 "business-as-usual" emissions total without intervention, the Environmental Protection Administration said.

"If we can reach our maximum, that would be the most stringent goal in Asia," EPA Executive Secretary Hsiao Hui-chuan told Reuters in an interview.

Japan has pledged to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels on condition of a tougher global climate deal being reached. South Korea has pledged to voluntarily cut emissions by 30 percent by 2020 from "business-as-usual" levels.

"It’s not about our air, it’s global," Hsiao said. "Taiwan thinks it’s a global player. A lot of people tell us this is advantageous for getting a role in the U.N. convention," she said, referring to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Taiwan is barred by political rival and economic powerhouse China from joining international organisations and has sought to make a name in environmental protection.

The island’s China-friendly president has dropped bids to join the United Nations, and is instead seeking minor roles, such as observer status, in U.N.-sponsored organisations.


The government’s announcement is symbolic support for the Copenhagen Accord that was agreed at the end of last December’s climate summit in Denmark, an Accord Taiwan cannot formally sign up to.

More than 100 nations have backed or "associated" with the Accord that was not formally endorsed at the Copenhagen meeting in the final plenary session after objections from a handful of nations. More than 60 countries, including top emitter China, have submitted domestic plans for reining in greenhouse gas pollution as part of the Accord.

The agreement sets a goal of limiting a rise in world temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) and climate aid for poorer nations of up $100 billion by 2020. [ID:nSGE61M0A0]

Some manufacturers are worried about the government’s ambitious goals to curb emissions, EPA officials say, but many have already begun voluntarily complying.

Officials are still working on specific plans for meeting the 2020 target, which could hit heavy industry, farms, schools and transport, EPA officials said. Additional laws to establish a CO2 emissions trading system are pending in the Taiwan parliament [ID:nTP326029].

In 2006, the International Energy Agency ranked Taiwan 22nd in the world for fuel-based carbon dioxide emissions at 270 million tonnes per year. It was No. 16 in terms of per-capita emissions, higher than Japan and South Korea.

President Ma Ying-jeou has said he wants Taiwan’s annual carbon dioxide emissions to fall to 214 million tonnes by 2025 and half that by 2050. Taiwan also plans to return to 2000 emissions levels by 2025.

Mar 12, 2010

Cabinet shake-up tests Taiwan’s pro-China president

TAIPEI (Reuters) – China-friendly Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou faces a new test of public confidence ahead of tense year-end elections after the sudden resignation of his justice minister and the health minister’s threat to quit.

Already reeling from a series of flaps last year, Ma’s government late on Thursday approved the resignation of Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng over a dispute about the death penalty and urged Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang to stay after Yaung asked to leave over differences on insurance premiums.

Mar 5, 2010
via Environment Forum

Flood drowns Taipei in cinematic wake-up call


American sci-fi blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow warned global audiences about climate change as it showed New York smothered by ice as temperatures plunged worldwide.  But the 2004 movie evidently made little impact on growth-crazy Asia, which has gone ahead spewing pollutants without imagining risks that they might disrupt the climate.

This year a group of filmmakers in newly modernised, consumption-happy Taiwan is going to the densely populated western Pacific island’s public with an hour-long alarmist movie showing the world’s second-tallest building Taipei 101 as an island in a flood that has drowned the capital after a reservoir collapses in a freak super-strength typhoon.

Feb 22, 2010

Despite China, U.S. says Taiwan air force needs help

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s fighter jets would fall short in combat against military rival China, the U.S. government said in a report on Monday that could lead to new weapons sales sure to anger Beijing.

Many of Taiwan’s roughly 400 combat aircraft would not work in action due to age and maintenance problems, while protection of the island’s airfields little more than 160 km (100 miles) from China was a major issue, the U.S. government’s Defense Intelligence Agency said in the report, released in Taiwan.

Feb 19, 2010

Service at sword point at “Ninja” restaurant

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Waitresses wield swords and flare flames at diners, who have to get past a moat before sitting at their table in the dimly lit dining hall.

The same customers are also encouraged to take photos with the warrior-like waitresses, who dress in black or red to look like ninjas in keeping with the theme of a dark but lively restaurant that opened last month in Taiwan’s capital.

Feb 18, 2010

China’s “ant tribe” poses policy challenge for Beijing

TANGJIALING, China (Reuters) – They sleep in boxy rooms crammed into dingy low-rises and spend hours commuting to work on crowded buses as part of a trend of poorer white-collar workers being forced to the fringes of China’s wealthiest cities.

Some say these struggling college graduates who swarm out of their cramped accommodations and head to work in the urban sprawl each morning are reminiscent of worker insects in a colony. Not surprisingly, they are often referred to as China’s ant tribe.

Feb 5, 2010

After US deal, Taiwan to buy helicopters from Europe

TAIPEI, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Taiwan said on Friday it would
buy up to 20 military helicopters from a European manufacturer
less than a week after Washington infuriated China by proposing
a $6.4 billion arms deal for the island which Beijing claims as
its own.

The Taiwan deal with Eurocopter has the potential to strain
China-European relations, which, like Sino-U.S. ties, have been
hurt by trade disputes and the value of the Chinese currency.

Feb 2, 2010

China versus Taiwan: How the political standoff may end

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) – China has expressed fury at Washington’s announcement of a new arms package for self-ruled Taiwan, saying it threatens the task of peaceful reunification between the two sides.

China and Taiwan, once at the brink of war before a thaw in relations, have avoided discussing their political future and instead focused on forming closer economic ties.

Feb 1, 2010

Q+A: Why is China so sensitive about Taiwan?

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) – China has reacted with fury at the latest proposed sales of U.S. weapons to Taiwan, saying it would sanction U.S. companies that sell arms to the self-ruled island and suspend military exchanges.

Here are some questions and answers about why China is so sensitive about Taiwan:

Jan 31, 2010

Q+A: How arms sales to Taiwan will impact Sino-U.S. ties

BEIJING (Reuters) – China warned the United States on Saturday that a new proposed sale of U.S. arms to Beijing’s political rival Taiwan would seriously harm relations between the superpowers, another test of already strained ties.

China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.