1208 climate change action in Taipei

1208 climate change action in Taipei, Taiwan

An 1208 action on climate change (1208抗暖化,為下一代而走) was held in Taipei and other cities around Taiwan today. It was part of an international day of action to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference currently being held in Bali. About three thousand people participated in the march. It was a big increase in numbers from last year's event in Taipei.

participants from COSWAS at the 1208 climate change action in Taipei

The most colorful participants in the parade were those from COSWAS (日日春協會, the sex workers collective). I was also surprised to see a small group from ISKCON, better known as the Hare Krishnas. It was the first time I had seen them in Taipei. Their banner read, "Eating meat = increasing global warming". 

There were a number of environmental groups participating in the march including the Green Party, TEAN, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union and the Society of Wilderness. There were also candidates for the Legislative Yuan election from the Green Party and TSU.

Taiwan Vice-President Annette Lu at the 1208 climate change action in Taipei

Vice-President Annette Lu (副總統呂秀蓮) made a brief appearance at the start of the rally at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. She read out some of the forecasts from the IPCC and also commented on how much energy was wasted by bottled water.

It was great to see many people turn out for this event in Taipei. However, Taiwan still has a long way to go to meet the challenges of climate change. Even though it is unable to participate in the meeting in Bali as it is not a member of the UN, I hope the government will at least try to meet the targets set in Bali. The Taiwan News yesterday reported that former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Taiwan must contribute to the global fight against climate change even if it is outside the UN framework. 

Taiwan is one of the world's largest per capita producers of greenhouse gases. It must play its part as a responsible global citizen. 

*more photos in the 1208 Climate Change Action in Taipei set at flickr.

Update: The Taipei Times has a report on the Taipei march. The Taiwan News reports on Annette Lu's comments. Jerome Keating points out that Kofi Annan refers to Taiwan as "a country". (added 9 December 2007) More reports on the event in Taipei and elsewhere in Taiwan can be found at tw-climatecampaign.blogspot.com. (added 10 December 2007)

8 thoughts on “1208 climate change action in Taipei

  1. Interesting read, I hope they can do what they are actually saying.

    Regardless, yeah, bottled water is a waste of energy, but Taiwan depends on the stuff to, umm, survive…I suppose they could implement better water purification plants, but that would cost…more than I think the government is really willing to spend. Oh, well, we’ll see.

  2. Good on you for documenting this. As someone with a degree in climate science, this is an issue close to my heart. Hopefully we’ll see some concrete action, but I don’t hold out much hope. Politicians rarely look at the long term issues, instead focusing on the short term and global warming action takes a backseat.

  3. I thought the pollution in Taiwan had improved a lot in the last 5 or so years. I remember in 1997 and 2001 I could see the air around the Taipei train station, felt lightheaded from the fumes, and my clothes would be filthy from just me wearing them while wandering around Taipei.

    The air in Taipei seemed much better on my last trip in December 2006, about the same level as New York or Sydney. Are there any figures on how much the air has improved since the subway started running? I also thought Taiwan was finally requiring new cars to have a catalytic converter.

  4. If only it were so simple. The “pollution” you are referring to is probably PM10 or particulate pollution and maybe other things like ozone, NOx and CO. Government regulation and improvements in design have successfully reduced this.

    However, the problem is CO2 is directly related to energy use. The amount of PM10s that come out a car exhaust can be reduced. The amount of CO2 can’t (unless you radically redesign the car to make it more fuel efficient). CO2 is invisible but a small increase in its concentration in the atmosphere affects the climate of the entire planet!

    Have a look at the EPA website page on air quality. Some more detailed figures are here. Their figures show significant improvements in air quality. However, Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the same period.

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  6. Cutting down on bottled water? Sounds like a joke to me. What about the new plant Formosa plastics is building? Politicians ugh!!!!

  7. Thanks for putting up those links, David. CO2 isn’t my main concern (at least compared with ocean change and certain livestock farming practices), but it’s great to know where that data is.

    Solar power generation is growing at a far higher exponential rate than total energy use, so it should have a positive effect on CO2 emissions in time. For car pollution, though, I think the best solution is less driving. This city really has become more commuter friendly since I first got here.

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