(EnergyAsia, Feb 28) — Taiwan will hold a national energy conference in June to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol which came into effect on Feb 16.

The Bureau of Energy said the event will be attended by more than 200 government officials, lawmakers, labour representatives, academics and activists from environmental protection groups. The Kyoto Protocol negotiated in 1997 and ratified by 141 nations, calls on 35 industrialised countries to rein in their release of carbon dioxide and five other gases produced by burning oil and coal, as well as by various other processes.

Although not a UN member nor a signatory of the agreement, Taiwan must play its part as a member of the global community, a Bureau of Energy spokesman told the state-owned CNA news service.

Taiwan might end up becoming a target of concern or even trade sanctions if it does not step up its greenhouse gas reduction efforts, given that Taiwan releases some 2.39 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, or about 1% of the global total. Taiwan ranks as the world’s 22nd largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

If it does not act now, Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise to some 4.61 million tons per year by 2020, the official warned.

Liu Ming-lung, a co-founder of the Taiwan Climate Protection Coalition, has called on the government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, even though Taiwan is not a signatory, and then move to deal with industries and companies that are the country’s major polluters.

He said the government should aggressively push for the enactment of a greenhouse gas emissions control law to legally require that greenhouse gas emissions in Taiwan be cut to the 2005 levels by 2015.

He said the administration should also review the country’s energy policies regarding nuclear, thermal and recycled power, and try to secure for the country a low-pollution power source that requires low energy to produce. Taiwan should also take part in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

According to the World Bank, about US$10 billion will flow into developing countries every year under the CDM operations. About 70% of that will be directed to mainland China, opening opportunities for Taiwan to develop bankable CDM projects.