Thursday, January 3, 2008

Following the international trend and heading to a low-carbon state

What Taiwan encounters about environmental issues is quite diverse and complicated. Global warming is just one of these important issues. Generally, no matter it is the concept of environmental pollution or protection, all are involved in the interaction and relationship between human beings and nature.

During the time of agricultural economy, though economic activities were conducted by using natural resources such as land and water, they were still based on nature, and people followed the changes of season to cultivate their fields. However, after the Industrial Revolution, industrial development had speeded up. Thus, the relationship between human beings and nature had transformed into another type of mutual dependence. During this time, for economic development, the majority of human beings deprived and wasted a huge amount of natural resources. As a result, the price was to pay off with the large amount of pollutants, the destruction of ozone layer, greenhouse effect, acid rain, the proliferation of toxic gas, and the pollution of ocean and rivers, etc.

In the report published by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN has illustrated that global warming is a fact and human activities have resulted in global warming. The most important issue is that too much man-made greenhouse gas emission including CO2 and air pollution influence the radiant heat budget between earth and air. This report indicates that people should re-evaluate and re-define the co-existence between human beings and nature. So far, the international community has listed cutting down carbon dioxide as an important method to fight against global warming. Apart from cutting down carbon dioxide, Taiwan should try to decrease air pollution and heat island effect as well.

Taiwan is unable to participate in many international environmental agreements (such as global climate change framework and Kyoto Treaty), since Taiwan is not the member state of the UN; however, as a member of the international community and the earth, Taiwan should contribute more to the environmental protection issue like global warming. This is not only for the whole human beings but also for the sustainable development in Taiwan. Practically, heading to low-carbon is also beneficial to our sustainable development in economy. According to the regulation of trade barrier in the WTO, environmental exclusion clause may put environmental taxation on exports because of environmental concerns. Also, the European Union also issued WEEE, RoHS and EuP. Apart from this, all electronic and electric products should be recycled (enacted in August 2005) and all toxic materials like As, Hg and Pb are forbidden to be used (enacted in July, 2006); energy-consumed products are asked to meet the EUP requirements.

Energy productivity in Taiwan in terms of GDP and energy usage is 47% and 65% respectively, lower than in the European Union and Japan. This means that compared to developed countries, Taiwan still depends more on energy to stimulate economic growth. It makes Taiwan face the risk of international trade sanction especially from the European Union in the future. The export to the European Union stands for 12.5% in 2004 in total foreign trade rate in Taiwan (a huge slump to 5.8% in 2006). It shows that after the EU issued WEEE, RoHS and EuP, it truly influenced the export to the EU. Therefore, Taiwan’s economy should cooperate more with those developed countries in the future, and our products should meet environmental requirements in developed countries. In this manner, higher profits can be made and a cleaner environment can be maintained.

Moreover, in the long run, Taiwan should cooperate with international organizations including various NPOs and NGOs to make more efforts in maintaining a good environment of the Earth and to create a low-carbon society, a low-carbon economy and a Green Country.

2 comments:

CresceNet said...
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