Taiwan Outlying Islands to Lead Emissions Cut Effort

(Reuters) – Taiwan aims to transform several of its outlying islands into models of green energy production as part of a 10-year effort to cut its overall greenhouse gas emissions, the government said on Monday.

Industrialized Taiwan, a major semiconductor, chemicals and steelmaker, will invest heavily in wind power on the Penghu islands in the Taiwan Strait. The aim is to raise renewable energy production to half total consumption of the 90,000 population, officials said.

On the Kinmen islets, also known as Quemoy, T$3 billion ($90 million) will be spent to develop solar power, recycle water and push eco-friendly architecture for the 70,000 people who live there, the Environmental Protection Administration said.

The agency said it was hoped the investments could deliver a rapid transformation of the energy supply on the islands and help drive efforts on the more industrialized main island, with a population of 23 million.

Taiwan said in March it would cut planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from all sources by 2020 to 2005 levels of about 257 million metric tonnes, or at least 30 percent below projected levels if no action were taken.

It has also laid out plans for 50 low-carbon villages on the main island.

Visible results on the outlying islands could help Taiwan’s bid for a U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change role that has been repeatedly blocked by its political rival China.

“The government needs to show it’s doing something, and these are the easiest places to show results,” said Robin Winkler, a lawyer and environmental activist in Taipei.

Reporting by Ralph Jennings, Editing by David Fogarty; article appearing courtesy Reuters.

photo: Francisco Diez

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