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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everybody knows that Rio +20 is just around the corner. For those who don't know. Rio +20 is United Nations conference for sustainable development. I think as advanced economy and a major player in the world, Taiwan should be on the forefront of Sustainable development to catch up with the rest of the developed world. Although Taiwan is not part of the UN due to political isolation from our neighbour, Taiwan can still play a major role in participating in global sustainable development.

I would like everybody that is interested to discuss about this issue and where Taiwan can improve on Sustainable development. Maybe we can propose ideas to central or local government for discussion.

Area of Focus:

Renewable Energy
Smart Cities - (Technology, urban planning, use of resources)
Sustainable buildings
Sustainability in Business
Waste Management/Treatment
Water Management/Treatment
Supply Chain Management
Carbon Footprint (Corporate and Household)
.. etc (Anything else you can think of)

Lets start the discussion :)
 

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As fuel prices go up the Taiwanese will start to use MRT systems more and more (they'll do anything to save money), as was seen with the recent fuel hike (I think ridership in Kaohsiung increased 10,000 overnight?).

Some forward thinking is required here: Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taoyuan need to invest more in their transport infrastructure. Taipei too, but to a lesser extent.

I don't know much about the other cities, so I'll stick with Kaohsiung. Yes, ridership is poor, and the system is making a heavy loss, but the main reason for that is the lack of coverage that the system provides. While the red line's forage into northern Kaohsiung county is commendable (Ciatou, Nanzih etc), more needs to be done to take people around the downtown city center.

Clearly the easiest way for an MRT to be built (as was seen with the Red and Orange lines) is for the city government to dig up main roads and lay the track underneath them, even if there were a couple more lines, the MRT would be significantly more popular, making Kaohsiung greener.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rio+20: the Earth Summit diaries

Source: Guardian UK

A tale of two conferences

Wednesday June 20 07.30am

Would businesses have a better chance of saving the world if they had more fun?

Progressive companies have recognised that it is no longer true that the business of business is not business.

Now they could do with learning that the art of life is to enjoy yourself and not to take everything so seriously. Paradoxically you get far more done if you don't suck lemons all day.

The reason I write this is because I attended two major events at Rio yesterday in the same posh beachfront hotel.

On the second floor in a spacious and airy conference hall was the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD), a coalition of business groups, while in the darker basement was a social media conference, Rio+Social.

While the social media conference was fast and furious and based on innovation and challenging the status quo, with speakers such as Richard Branson and Mohammad Yunus, BASD spent the day looking sector by sector at how to scale up change.

While Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, was downstairs calling the Rio+20 outline agreement a betrayal of humanity, upstairs the head of the negotiations described it as a triumph.

If I had unlimited powers, what I would have done is mix up the two conferences, because they could both learn so much from each other.

The more youthful and energised audience in the basement could learn that most change comes, not from having a vision, but from the grunt end work of making things happen one step at a time.

What the suits could learn is to challenge their ingrained thinking and recognise the power of inspiration and of dreams.

There was just one business leader who attended both conferences and looked at home in either setting and that is Jochen Zeitz, the chief sustainability officer of the luxury goods brand PPR.

At Rio+Social, he talked about the dream of what the perfect world would look like to him, regarding the role of business, and to his credit he did the same upstairs.

"Let me just say that it is a world in which business is inclusive and holistic by working with nature and society combined in peace" he told the BASD. "Call it paradise or a perfect word. It's certainly a world I would love to be a part of and live in."

Ray of hope in Rio as UK government gives the go-ahead for mandatory corporate carbon reporting

Tuesday June 19 23.30

News that the government is to require public companies listed in the UK to publish full details of the greenhouse gases they produce from April 2013 has been welcomed at Rio +20.

Ony last month, the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of some the UK's largest businesses and green groups, wrote to the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to complain about the fact that the government had missed a four-year deadline to introduce mandatory carbon reporting.

The letter was signed by a number of big companies including Asda, Cable&Wireless, Cisco, Jupiter, Aviva Investors, Marks & Spencer, Philips, Sky, Thames Water, the Co-operative and PepsiCo.

Christian Aid's Director of Policy and Public Affairs Christine Allen said about the planned announcement by Clegg at the Rio +20 conference: "This is a very encouraging breakthrough which will make UK plc more sustainable and accountable.

'This is welcome news to the thousands of Christian Aid supporters who have been campaigning for mandatory carbon reporting for many years. We also welcome the fact that the scheme can be reviewed in 2015 to make it more ambitious.

'We know that the world's poorest people are hit first and worst by the changing climate and this decision provides some hope that the UK government is serious about tackling the crisis.

'As political leaders arrive at the Rio Summit in the middle of difficult negotiations, we hope the Deputy Prime Minister uses his announcement to signal to the world that the UK is determined to show leadership and is prepared to seek a more ambitious outcome to the conference.'

Andrew Reingold, who head up the Aldersgate Group, said mandatory carbon reporting will ensure that all large listed companies disclose their emissions in their annual report, thereby ensuring greater accountability and transparency, creating a level playing field and helping enable investors and the media to make more meaningful comparisons. He said: "It would certainly be an improvement on the crude performance metrics of the carbon reduction commitment energy efficiency scheme league table.

"Above all, it would further encourage business, which is responsible for nearly a third of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, to manage and reduce its carbon footprint, leading to reduced energy costs and a greater understanding of material climate risks and opportunities."

Alan McGill, partner, PwC sustainability and climate change, says the decision is not unexpected as companies had already been showing support for such a move.

He said: "Our analysis of the FTSE shows it has the highest levels of board oversight and engagement on climate change strategy, compared to other global business indices. There might be slight surprise that it's not all large companies, just listed ones. But it's a bit early to see the government going much further than listed companies at this stage. There may be fears that extending it beyond large listed companies, into small or medium sized enterprises could be too much of a burden."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rio+20 agree to ‘sustainable development goals' says, Caroline Spelman

More than 190 countries are gathered in Rio for the largest ever United Nations summit on the environment.

Rio+20 , called 20 years after the original Earth Summit, officially runs from 20th to 22nd June when ministers arrive for the ‘High Level Segment’.

However in an extraordinary move the Brazilian hosts have managed to get an 80-page agreement already agreed by environment ministers before the world leaders even arrive.

The text has yet to be signed off by heads of government, but Mrs Spelman said she did not expect anything to be dramatically changed.

“Whilst there is still a lot of work to do, this agreement means we have made progress towards achieving what the Rio Earth Summit set out to do – to get the world on the right path to achieve cleaner and greener growth that ends the damage we have done to the environment and helps end poverty,” she said.

The Future We Want commits the world to creating a new set of ‘sustainable development goals’.

The SDGs, as they will be known, will work like the existing Millennium Development Goals to drive action on sustainable food, water and energy for all.

The United Nations General Assembly will appoint a group of representatives from 30 countries by September to develop the goals. It is expected the goals will focus on food, water and energy set come into force in 2015.

Mrs Spelman said it could transform the way the world works, including forcing countries like Britain to use food, energy and water in a more sustainable way.

“The agreement on Sustainable Development Goals is a good outcome. We have backed SDGs from the outset and helped drive them from a good idea to a new agreement that will elevate sustainability to the top of the agenda. We had wanted to get agreement on themes of food, water and energy, which will now be our next aim.”

However environmentalists said the agreement was too weak.

For example plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies only reaffirms previous commitments to phase them out if they "harmful and inefficient", without setting a date.

Jim Leape, WWF Director General, said important issues like halting deforestation, loss of species and overfishing have been watered down.

He said that the agreement should have agreed the themes of SDGs and a timetable in which they should be agreed.

At the moment he feared the agreement is too vague to force countries to act.

“It’s up to world leaders to get serious about sustainable development and save this process. If they approve what’s on the table now without significant changes, they’ve doomed Rio+20 to ridicule,” he said.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director said the agreement has nothing to force countries to take action, meaning environmental degradation will continue.

“We were promised the 'future we want' but are now being present with a 'common vision' of a polluter’s charter that will cook the planet, empty the oceans and wreck the rain forests.“

“This is not a foundation on which to grow economies or pull people out of poverty, it’s the last will and testament of a destructive twentieth century development model,

“World leaders will begin to descend on Rio today and we have to ask why? We were promised a green economy, the Future we Want, but all we can look forward to is three more days of Greenwash.”

World leaders will now spend three days negotiating the text.

Mrs Spelman said it was unlikely it will change drastically but NGOs are hoping it will be significantly strengthened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Public transport will play an important role in sustainable development, but developing these transport systems comes at a cost and national and local government simply cannot afford to roll out these transport projects all at once. Sustainable public transport studies should be done before implementing it. I do not think every city should use MRTs because it is simply too costly and makes no economic sense. Alternatively, cities that is less densely populated should consider using BRTs or if they can afford it, use Trams.

Kaohsiung is at a forefront of trying to be the greenest city in Taiwan.

http://taiwansustainablecities.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwyeLps5v7A&feature=related

Read and watch the video. Very interesting how Kaohsiung turned around.



I believe that Sustainable development is not just about having good public transport system and planting more trees. A few things we can improve on is:

Renewable energy - Taiwan is one of the biggest exporters in solar cells. But Taiwan does not use them locally to produce energy? NOT CLOSE TO ENOUGH. Why? We have a wide stretch of coast, why are we not installing wind turbines?

Taiwanese Waste too much - eg. everytime people buy 1 bubble tea, they get a plastic bag with it. WHY? if you are going to drink it right away, why do u need to carry it with a plastic bag? Although the recycle program is very good, but Taiwanese is too wasteful. If they can use less resources and recycle at the same time, that will be a huge bonus.

Taiwan's businesses can transform to be more sustainable. Managing supply chain is one of them. If the businesses have a sustainability policy, then the entire supply chain should comply with that policy. Sustainability is not just going green, its a mix of environment, social responsibility and economics. Walmart is doing very well in implementing their sustainability policy.

Water management is one of the most important issues in Taiwan. Shortage of water will be the biggest thing we will face in this century. Water - this centuries gold - if we dont look after it. Taiwan's water is too cheap. I propose that water usage in normal households should to charged in an exponential way. for example, from 0 - 100,000 litres, the government will charge NT$1 per litre and from 100,000 - 150,000 they should charge NT$2 per litre etc. Ofcourse it will be different with businesses and factories because usage of water is different then. This will put measures for households to save water. This should apply to use of gas and electricity as well.

Sustainable Buildings is another issue. By sustainable, it doesn't mean that every building must be replaced with greener buildings. Renovating the building to become greener than before will work because destroying a building and building a new one will pollute the planet a lot more (directly and indirectly). Install solar geysers, solar panels, change to energy efficient shower heads, energy efficient LED lights, smart toilets. Remodel the interior of the house so that natural lights can go into the building etc.



Taiwan's main emissions come from automobiles, airconditioning and meat eating. All these can be reduced if measures are taken.
 

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I commend the Taiwanese public for the incredibly fast change in their trash disposal and recycling habits. This is a culture that 15 years ago would just throw their trash in the corner of the alley and wouldn't think twice about littering. Public consciousness now embraces recycling and have come up with a program that even recycles used cooking oil, not to mention that littering is no longer a common sight. The US on the other hand talks a lot about going green and how the local landfill can only sustain so many more decades before it would reach capacity, yet public recycling bins are still non-existent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, we do not and should not follow the US model. US might be the model for the 20th century but definitely not for the 21st century! If everybody in the world lives like how the Americans are living, we will need 5 planets to sustain our lifestyle!
 
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