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Tainan Ups Carbon Reduction Targets as Paris Agreement Kicks off

 

 

In recent years, Tainan has been at the forefront of Taiwan’s initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of becoming a low-carbon city placed high on its policy agenda. Now that enough key countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, the world’s first comprehensive agreement on combating climate change, to enable this epochal agreement to go into effect on November 4th, Tainan City Government has responded by intensifying its commitment to carbon reduction and raising its targets for cutting carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.
 
 
Tainan City put its carbon cutting efforts into top gear in 2011, when it was chosen to serve as southern Taiwan’s demonstration model for a low-carbon city. The next year, it launched a set of ten projects for putting carbon reduction into broad effect. These projects ranged across many different areas of action, consisting of: building sustainable low-carbon communities; encouraging low-carbon cultural tourism; utilizing multiple green energy sources; expanding eco-city functions; constructing efficient low-carbon transportation; fostering a low-carbon lifestyle for all citizens; establishing a material-recycling society; promoting low-carbon energy-saving buildings; helping schools achieve low-carbon environments; and facilitating broad public participation in related learning and international exchange activities.
 
 
 
Over the last five years, Tainan has invested more than NT$4.8 billion in carrying out its carbon reduction projects. This has reduced the city’s CO2e emissions by 2.67 million metric tons, with 300,000 metric tons removed from non-industrial emissions. In 2012, Tainan launched a thorough citywide inventory process to enable accurate gauging of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the same year, it had the results of the inventory process verified and approved by a third party, making Tainan the first city in Taiwan to accomplish such third-party verification. It has repeated this process annually, to evaluate the effectiveness of emission reduction efforts.
 
 
In 2015, Tainan’s Environmental Protection Bureau began to conduct checks on subordinate organizations and units as stipulated by the greenhouse gas emissions accounting and registration regulations. As of November 24, 2016, 43 enterprises in Tainan had conducted such accounting and registration, 32 of them reporting in compliance with the regulations and 11 reporting voluntarily. The reported figures show that these 43 enterprises emitted a total of 9.39 million metric tons of CO2e in 2015, accounting for 60.4% of Tainan’s total industrial emissions. 
 
 
In response to the passage of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act in 2015, and the national emission reduction targets subsequently set by the central government, Tainan examined its past years’ emissions inventories and found that more than 70% of the city’s emissions each year came from the industrial sector, including industrial energy and manufacturing processes. Hence, in 2016, it reset reduction targets, with inclusion of the industrial sector, to match overall national policy targets and the timetable of the 2015 Act, targeting a short-term reduction of 12% below 2005 emissions by 2020, equivalent to cutting 2.34 million metric tons of CO2e emissions; a mid-term reduction of 20% below 2005 emissions by 2030, equivalent to cutting 3.9 million metric tons of CO2e emissions; and a long-term reduction of 50% below 2005 emissions, equivalent to cutting 9.76 million metric tons of CO2e emissions.
 
 
Additionally, the city government established a set of Low-Carbon Adaptation and Sustainable Development Indicators, for division of planning into short-term, mid-term and long-term stages of implementation. These consisted of 38 indicators for the short-term target up to 2020, indicating progress in the three main aspects of environmental sustainability, retardation, and adaptation; 53 indicators for the mid-term target up to 2030, indicating progress in the five main aspects of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, social sustainability, retardation, and adaptation; and 100 indicators for the long-term target up to 2050, indicating progress in 17 aspects, including international connection and compliance with international ISO 37120 standards for city services and quality of life.
 
 
Tainan Mayor William Lai has stated that Tainan will remain firmly committed to achieving its low-carbon goals, and will adhere steadfastly to carrying out all of its carbon-reduction projects. The city will also be an active participant in the international arena, and will send a delegation led by Director-General Lee Hsien-wei of the Environmental Protection Bureau to this month’s Conference of the Parties (COP 22), at which follow-up to the Paris Agreement will be discussed. Representing Tainan as a low-carbon city, this delegation will seize every opportunity to talk about the city’s carbon reduction initiatives and to share ideas and information with other attendees from around the world. 
 
In respect of green energy promotion, Tainan is hopeful that, by the end of this year and two years early, it can reach the target of generating as much power in a year from renewable sources as is generated by the Zengwen hydroelectric power station. It is also pressing forward with its project to make Tainan into a solar-power city, and has set a two-year plan for expanding Tainan’s solar photovoltaic power generation, with the goal of building, within two years, a photovoltaic power generating system that produces as much electricity as another Zengwen hydroelectric power station. 
 
 
As we face entry into a low-carbon era, Tainan has already made itself fully prepared for this. Constantly keeping abreast of the latest information from home and abroad, reviewing and adjusting its low-carbon policy in accordance therewith, Tainan will keep marching on towards its low-carbon sustainable homeland vision. That is the unchanging promise of Mayor Lai and his administrative team to the citizens of Tainan.