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ECCT LCI Joins 2014 EPA's Carbon Mitigation Alliance

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The ECCT's Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) participated in the 2014 inaugural conference of the Carbon Mitigation Alliance.

 

The Carbon Mitigation Alliance was initiated in 2013 by the Environmental Protection Administration to facilitate the transformation of domestic industries to low carbon operations as well as to establish a communicative platform for governments and businesses to exchange information and share opinions with regards to carbon reduction and actions to address climate change.

The event was officially opened by EPA Minister Shen Shu-hung. Opening remarks were also made by ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo (speech video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyEhqGtubJM) and Director of the British Trade & Cultural Office in Taiwan, Chris Wood. Keynote presentations were given by Thomas Fann, ECCT Automotive committee Co-chair and Bernd Barkey, ECCT Executive Director and ECCT LCI Representative. Other speakers included the Secretary General of Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Chairman of GreTai Securities Market, the President of Taiwan Financial Services Roundtable Co.,Ltd., the VP of China Steel.

 

In his opening remarks EPA Minister Shen referred to the September 2013 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which concludes that it is 95% certain that humans are primarily responsible for recent climate change. The report has sparked growing calls for action tackle climate change globally. Minister Shen said that he was therefore encouraged that the Carbon Mitigation Alliance had grown from 60 members from a variety of industries in 2013 to 123 members so far in 2014. The Carbon Mitigation Alliance plans to hold three major events this year to increase awareness and spur cooperation among all stakeholders.
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In his opening speech ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo said that the ECCT's LCI was delighted to be part of the EPA's efforts to facilitate the Clean Carbon Alliance in Taiwan. Like the EPA, European governments and businesses recognize that the world is on an unsustainable path and there is an urgent need for sustainable development. The chairman said that as the largest organization representing European business in Taiwan, the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan is committed to supporting environmentally-friendly business practices and promoting sustainability.

The chairman Izzo gave a brief introduction to the LCI. In 2012 leading European companies and institutions from among ECCT members joined forces to create the Low Carbon Initiative or LCI. The LCI currently has 22 member companies. The aim of the LCI is to showcase the best European low carbon solutions and practices across a broad range of industries, to raise awareness about sustainable development and promote the adoption of low carbon solutions in order to help Taiwan to reduce its carbon emissions. Members provide proven technologies that can help to reduce Taiwan's carbon emissions across a wide range of industries. Promoting low carbon products and technology can also spur economic activity in low carbon solutions, thereby creating a virtuous circle, reducing dependence on highly-polluting fossil fuels while boosting business opportunities.

Europe also has ambitious targets for producing renewable energy. The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 while Taiwan's target for total renewable energy is 8% of total energy generating capacity by 2025. The chairman concluded that he hoped that through partnership between the ECCT LCI, the EPA and Taiwanese corporations, more ambitious targets will be set and a large-scale adoption of low carbon and sustainable solutions will be realized in Taiwan.
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In his keynote presentation, Thomas Fann noted that while automobile markets in the west have reached a mature phase, sales in emerging markets are still rising, especially in the Asia Pacific region. Total sales in Asia are expected to account for 46% of global market share by 2020.

Emerging market growth has been huge while sales in the west have stabilized. Given their contribution to emissions, automakers have an obligation to take action. Much progress has already been made in recent decades but the process will continue.

Mobility and connectivity will have a big impact on the automobile industry. Among multiple benefits, connected devices will make driving safer and will help to improve traffic flow. Meanwhile companies like google are experimenting with driverless cars, which, if technologies are properly developed, have the potential to drastically reduce accidents in future (since most accidents are the result of human error).

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(Panel Discussion video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQe3WmQhWVI)

With regard to mitigating carbon emissions, Fann's firm believes a holistic approach is needed to minimize the environmental impact of the automotive industry. This should include every aspect of a vehicle's production (the manufacturing process, technologies and materials used), energy usage during the life of the vehicle and eventual recycling. In addition, new business models should be explored. For example, the traditional single vehicle owner business model could be expanded to include new car sharing scheme business models, now being tested in the US and Europe. There is also a need for a holistic rethink of transportation to maximize efficiency and make travel more time and cost-effective by optimizing the most efficient air, train, metro and automobile transport options for each trip.

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In his presentation Bernd Barkey gave an overview and update of the ECCT's LCI. He briefed attendees on the LCI's history, membership, platforms, publications and activities since its inception. He also gave a preview of the LCI's planned activities for the year ahead.

After the LCI briefing, Barkey proceeded to introduce his company, Bosch, and its carbon mitigation efforts. According to Barkey, 40% of the company's budget is devoted to green products while 50% of revenue is attributable to green products. Automotive products are Bosch's largest business segment, accounting for 60% of its total revenues. Barkey said it remains to be seen which type of electric vehicles (battery or hydrogen fuel cells) will win in the market. In the meantime, it is still possible to achieve another 30% reduction in emissions from internal combustion engines and this will be the focus of industry players in the short to medium term.

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At the same time, Bosch is helping to develop the best infrastructure and business model for electric vehicles. Barkey said his company has been involved in a trial EV project with the Singapore government since 2011 with the aim of understanding the environmental and economic effects of the system. Their involvement includes designing, producing and operating recharging stations including billing and pricing. The trial of 108 charging stations and 100 cars has been very successful so far, according to Barkey and Bosch has already learnt a lot from the process. To create a successful EV infrastructure, Bosch is recommending an open and flexible system that is open to hardware manufacturers. However, government support is essential to get the system off the ground and it can only be successful when technology is sufficiently developed and costs come down.

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