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ECCT hosts low carbon conference in Tainan

The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan's (ECCT) Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) jointly hosted 2016 Tainan-ECCT Low Carbon Green Energy Sustainability City Conference in Tainan. The full-day conference was arranged to exchange ideas and best practices on government policies and new technologies aimed at speeding up the transition to a low carbon society and boosting economic development at the same time. The forum featured three sessions covering topics including renewable energy visions for the EU and Taiwan, policies and strategies to develop and promote renewable energy and how to reduce carbon emissions in industry, among other subjects. The event was attended by around 300 people from industry, government, research institutes and NGOs.

The event began with opening remarks by Yen Chun-tso, Deputy Mayor, Tainan City Government; Freddie Höglund, ECCT CEO; Chen Man-li, Legislator, Legislative Yuan; Jane Hui-ching, Counselor/Executive Secretary, Greenhouse Reduction Management Office, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and Viktoria Lövenberg, Deputy Head, European Economic and Trade Office (EETO).

After the opening remarks presentations over three sessions were given by Chen Ling-hui, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Energy (BoE), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA); Jane Hui-ching, Counselor/Executive Secretary, Greenhouse Reduction Management Office, EPA; Raoul Kubitschek, PV Business Director, wpd; Yin Shi-xi, Deputy Director-General, Economic Development Department, Tainan City Government Chen Ling-hui, Deputy Director-General, BoE, MoEA; Yu Tong-tao, General Manager, Philips Lighting; Zhou Heng-hao, General Manager, Hengs Technology; Su Yung-fu, Deputy Director, Construction Management Division, Southern Taiwan Science Park, Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST); Yang Shui-ding, Department Manager, TSMC; Kung Po-chen, Business Vice President, Schneider Electric Taiwan and Angus Huang, Sales Director, Grundfos

In his opening remarks Deputy Mayor Yen said that Tainan city is taking its commitment to tackling climate change seriously. Under the leadership of Tainan City Mayor Lai Ching-de, Tainan has committed to becoming a low carbon city. Taking action is especially urgent since the city is experiencing the real impact of climate change. Like other cities in Taiwan, Tainan has to deal with heavy rain, dengue fever and flood damage from typhoons as well as drought. The shortage of electricity due to extreme heat this summer is a warning sign that we have to make changes now for the sake of future generations. While the authority of the Tainan city government is limited, the city is working hard and making progress every year in terms of energy saving and implementing low carbon solutions. According to the deputy mayor, since 2012, the city has invested a total of NT$4.88 billion and cut annual per capita carbon emissions from 15.13 tonnes to 12.49 tonnes.

In his speech ECCT CEO Höglund pointed out that the conference was just the latest in a series of ongoing collaborations between the ECCT and the Tainan City Government that demonstrates a shared commitment to low carbon development. Referring to the so-called Paris agreement, which was negotiated at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris and has been signed by the leaders of some 190 countries, he said that the European Union's goals go beyond those of any other region. The EU is on track to cut emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and has committed to increase this to 40% by 2030, as well as get 27% of energy from renewables and improve energy efficiency by at least 27%. He said that the ECCT welcomed the Taiwan government's commitment following the passage in 2015 of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction & Management Act that committed Taiwan to a reduction in emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050 and, more recently, to increasing renewable-based electricity generation to 20% of total generation by 2025. He went on to say that reaching the carbon reduction goals will require a major effort on the part of all stakeholders – government, energy providers, industry and the general public. He acknowledged Tainan City Mayor Lai Ching-de's commitment and actions to make Tainan a low carbon city through constructing green buildings, solar and hydro-electric power projects and redeveloping an area of the city into Taiwan's first low carbon model community.

In her remarks Legislator Chen Man-li said that Taiwan could learn a lot from Europe in terms of low carbon solutions, particularly those related to renewable energy. She said that Taiwan should take advantage of the "gifts of nature", the sun and the wind to increase renewable energy and that we need to support the drive towards renewable energy. Taiwan could also learn from cities like Singapore, which have a climate similar to Taiwan.

In her remarks Jane Hui-ching said that the objective of reducing Taiwan's carbon emissions was shared by the government and the legislature, which have committed to promoting green industry in Taiwan. She added that is important to think long term and make plans for the future and to increase cooperation with Europe.

In her remarks Viktoria Lövenberg said that 2016 was a pivotal year following Cop21, in which global leaders agreed to cap the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. Given the ever more drastic effects of climate change, we need to take action now. She noted that Taiwan's passage of the Greenhouse Gas and Reduction Management Act was a positive first step and that she hoped that Taiwan would continue to develop renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, set reasonable energy prices, improve building codes and create an enabling environment for green business.

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