Taiwan should learn from EU

By Frederic Laplanche ,Special to The China Post

As Taiwan is discussing the adoption of a Greenhouse Gases Reduction Act, I would like to share the European Union’s experience in this field. The EU considers that the risks incurred by the whole world because of climate change are extremely high. The rise of the earth’s average temperature has wide-ranging consequences not only on the level of ocean waters, but also ultimately on desertification, water resources availability, our ability to grow the food necessary for the world’s population and the occurrence of extreme weather phenomena like typhoons. Limiting the overall rise of temperature by 2 percent on average is a realistic yet difficult objective, which requires reducing at least by 50 percent the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, as compared to 1990 levels. Europeans have decided to face up to their responsibility in this regard. With 500 million citizens, the EU is the largest economy in the world, counting for around one fourth of global GDP. It is also, historically, a region which has been emitting a relatively high quantity of GHG.

But EU populations are also more and more aware of the immediate links between our well-being and the preservation of our environment. For this reason, the European Union has been at the forefront of the international combat against global warming. We have decided, unilaterally, to adopt very ambitious targets of GHG reduction and inscribed these into law. Based on the levels of 1990, we shall reduce our emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

By 2050, our aim is to reach a reduction of more than 80 percent. To do this, the EU has developed a series of policies, ranging from research and innovation, to a very stringent system of gradually diminishing maximum emissions limits, and a carbon emissions rights market called the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). This very ambitious goal is not going to harm the European economy or European industry. On the contrary, it will not only contribute significantly to tackling the problem of climate change worldwide, but it will also encourage our societies and businesses to find new ways of consuming and producing, to innovate, to bring even more science and technological progress into our lives. In the end, this goal will help us not only to maintain our well-being, but even to improve our quality of life.