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UK policy shows carbon emissions trump nuke phase-out: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The UK is actively developing renewable energy, but it also decided to build a new nuclear power plant, apparently indicating that reducing carbon emissions takes precedence over a nuclear power phase-out, President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday.

The president yesterday met Sir David King, the UK's climate change envoy, at the Presidential Office.

This is an important message to the world, given that fossil fuel is a finite resource, Ma said.

The increase in carbon emissions has put the entire world under grave threat, the president said, adding that Taiwan is an island prone to earthquakes, typhoons and floods.

The UK has an abundant supply of petroleum and natural gas, and it is actively developing renewable energy, Ma said, adding, however, that the UK recently decided to build a new nuclear power plant after extensive communication with its public.

The president said that the UK has set an example worthy of consideration.

Ma said that his vision is to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 to levels comparable to that of 2008 and to reduce carbon emissions to levels seen in 2000 by 2025.

After significant efforts in recent years, Taiwan's current carbon emissions have decreased to levels seen in 2005, Ma said.

According to reports on global emissions, the R.O.C. has seen an average decrease every year from 2008 to 2011, a percentage reduction that has proved to be better than the global average, Ma said.

Although the R.O.C. is not a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its determination to reduce emissions and the results of these efforts are very clear, the president said.

The R.O.C. faces significant challenges in terms of diplomacy and it is unable to take part in the UNFCCC, Ma said, adding, however, that after he took office, the administration endeavored to improve cross-strait relations and take an approach of viable diplomacy, enabling Taiwan to take part as an observer in the World Heath Assembly in 2009 and getting Taiwan invited to the International Civil Aviation Organization, both of which are results of the administration's efforts to improve Taiwan's relations with the international community.

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