Nobel Prize Laurate Suggests Taiwan to Levy Carbon Tax and Eliminate Nuclear Power

Nobel Prize Laurate Suggests Taiwan to Levy Carbon Tax and Eliminate Nuclear Power
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
What you need to know

Lee Yuan-tseh says that Taiwan hasn't done much for carbon reduction, and levying carbon tax would be a feasible method. He believes in five years, the cost of solar power will be cheaper than coal or nuclear power.

Listen
powered by Cyberon

The News Lens international edition is sponsored by Tutor A B C
At the end of the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) on December 12, countries worldwide have agreed that they will ensure the rise of global temperature will not exceed 2 degrees Celsius. In response to the latest Paris Agreement, Academia Sinica Researcher Lee Yuan-tseh says that the climate change issue is like a world war, which needs the whole world to take action.

He says that Taiwan hasn’t done much for carbon reduction, and levying carbon tax would be a feasible method. He believes in five years, the cost of solar power will be cheaper than coal or nuclear power.

UDN reports, National Taiwan University’s College of Social Sciences and Academy of Policy Research Center held a Taiwan Risk Society Forum and announced the results of the 2015 climate change opinion poll. The report found that 67.9% of the people think climate change is the most serious problem in the world; 85% of the people support a higher electricity price to develop renewable energy; and 86.9% of the people believe that environmental protection should be implemented for future generations.

CNA reports, Lee says that the carbon dioxide emission per capita in Taiwan is 11 tons. Although in recent years the government has made declarations to cut down greenhouse gas emissions, but no specific plans have been made. He suggests that there should be a bottom-up plan promoted by private sectors, prompting the government to take action.

Newsmarket reports, Lin Zi-lun, associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University who attended the COP21 says, in the past the world has been discussing how to achieve the goal of balancing the one to one ratio of renewable energy and fossil fuel energy. However, this time it is clear that all the countries are discussing how to achieve the goal of using 100% renewable energy.

Nevertheless, Taiwan’s energy policy has not seen any improvement. The total amount of electricity generated by renewable resources accounts only for 2.9%, and the government continues to subsidize the petrochemical industry. Lin says that it is no wonder that Germanwatch (an international environmental organization) is keeping an eye on us.

Lin also points out that in many advanced countries, climate change and energy issues are being discussed within the same bureau; but in Taiwan, the carbon reduction policy is managed by the Environmental Protection Administration, the energy tax issues by the Ministry of Finance, and energy management and development go to the Bureau of Energy.

He says, “If the issues and the legislation cannot be organized and concentrated into one discussion, how can Taiwan face the challenges of climate change?"

As for specific carbon reduction measures, Lee says that the introduction of carbon tax is a solution. If companies know that carbon emissions cost money, they will find ways to reduce carbon emissions. After the government receives the additional tax, it should use it to subsidize minority groups and the development of renewable energy. As for the people, when the prices go higher due to the levy of the carbon tax, they would be willing to take action to reduce carbon emissions.

About the question of whether nuclear energy can help reduce carbon emissions or not, Lee says that nuclear energy should have been forgotten long ago. He believes that within five years, the cost of solar energy will be cheaper than coal or nuclear power. It’s just that the solar energy saving technology has yet to be developed.

After 20 to 30 years, scientific and technological development may be able to store solar energy to be traded in the international market. Lee thinks that it is difficult for Taiwan to be self-sufficient in generating energy due to the high population density. Therefore, Taiwan must seek international cooperation for energy supply.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources: