To understand the distribution of carbon dioxide and atmospheric pollutants in the Asia-Pacific region, in 2012 the EPA began working with the EU and National Central University using Evergreen Line container ships to monitor greenhouse gases around the Pacific Ocean. Later in 2012, China Airlines was invited to join the observation effort. On 6 September 2016, the EPA, National Central University, and China Airlines jointly held a ceremony to launch the participation of a second China Airlines aircraft in international atmospheric CO2 monitoring.
The impact of global warming is certainly being felt in Taiwan: temperatures in Taipei continue to break records, with an all-time high for June being set this year at 38oC.
Global temperatures also continue to rise. In July 2016, the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 0.87oC higher than that of 2015. United Nations studies also indicated that global warming may cause US$2.7 trillion in economic losses by 2030; it may become too hot to work in some of the poorest countries. Unless every country implements its control measures, the growth of greenhouse gas emissions will not be reduced.
In December 2015, countries around the world signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. It outlines the need to keep the average global temperature from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and a target of keeping the rise under 1.5°C was agreed upon. President Tsai Ing-Wen has responded to the Paris Agreement by establishing the Energy and Carbon Reduction Office under the Executive Yuan, which will coordinate energy policy between government departments and facilitate cooperation so that Taiwan can reach its long-term carbon reduction targets.
The EPA pointed out that on 1 July 2015 Taiwan promulgated the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, which stipulates a reduction target for the year 2050 and the control targets for every five year interval. Combined with economic incentives, the Act intends to establish a cap-and-trade system. In the future, adaptation, reduction and green growth will be the three pillars of Taiwan’s climate change strategies for reaching the long-term national reduction targets, and by doing so the nation will be shouldering its responsibility as a member of the global village.
To achieve reduction targets, systematic scientific climate observation and research must be carried out. In 2009, the EPA initiated its Pacific Greenhouse Gas Measurement (PGGM) plan in cooperation with Evergreen Line. Nine Evergreen container ships were fitted with equipment to conduct measurements as they sailed around Asia and the Pacific Ocean. To date, over 200 observation journeys have been conducted. In 2012, the EPA began working with the EU and National Central University on conducting atmospheric observation and measurements with the assistance of a China Airlines aircraft. The data collected has been collated with the marine data to draw up a useful 3-D map of the distribution of greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollutants in the Asia and Pacific regions.
In 2016, a second China Airlines airplane was fitted with atmospheric measuring instruments, showing to the world that Taiwan is keen to actively participate in the international effort to collect data on atmospheric greenhouse gases. The EPA also wishes to work with other nations on climate change and global warming research to jointly assess the impact of climate change and devise suitable responses.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)