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Vice premier promotes public transit to cut carbon emissions

2010/04/19 17:27:55

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Instead of imposing a carbon tax to cutcarbon emissions, the government should put greater emphasis onimproving the energy efficiency of vehicles and encouraging the useof public transportation, Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu said Monday.

In an interview with a local cable TV station, the vice premier,who heads a carbon emissions reduction committee under the ExecutiveYuan, said a carbon tax is one option to curb the consumption offossil fuels, but the government's overall strategy remains the mostimportant factor in the effort.

"Limiting the emissions of vehicles, encouraging the use ofelectric vehicles, enhancing the efficiency of public transportation,and extending rapid transit systems" would be more effective thanimposing carbon taxes or congestion pricing, according to Chu.

The government is also pushing 10 other carbon reductionmeasures, Chu said, that focus in part on the development of cleanand renewable energy and carbon-reduction technologies, and thespread of green buildings, green factories and green communities.

Saving energy is part of modern ethics and should be a habitinstilled in students at school so they "can serve as energy-savinginspectors at home," the vice premier added.

Rapid transit systems are considered highly effective in cuttingcarbon emissions, but Chu said the pace of infrastructure developmenthas been too slow, including in Taipei, where to date the MRT systemcovers 92.9 kilometers and serves 1.38 million passengers daily.

The system will cover 120 km when it is completed in 2015.

Although Taiwan is not a signatory of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol onClimate Change, it has promised to cut its carbon emissions to thelevel of 2008 by between 2016 and 2020, and to 50 percent of thelevel of emissions seen in 2000 by 2050.

The government formed a committee led by Chu on Dec. 28, 2009 tocome up with strategies to achieve the goals.

Meanwhile, Chu, who is considered the ruling Kuomintang's likelynominee in the Xinbei City mayoral race in late 2010, said in theinterview that he was not certain when he will be formally tapped bythe party as its candidate in the race.

"I will concentrate my energy on my job at the Executive Yuanbefore I am nominated and will do my best to win the election afterbeing nominated," Chu said.

(By Maubo Chang)