Taiwan can help in global climate efforts

November 27, 2019

It’s a pity Taiwan’s crucial participation is barred at an upcoming climate change international meeting.

Due to China’s intervention, the 23 million people of Taiwan will have no voice in the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Madrid, Spain from Dec. 2 to 13.

“It is unfair for Taiwan to be excluded from international organizations on the basis of political prejudice,” decried Minister Chang Tzi-chin of the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan).

“Our exclusion contradicts the spirit of related climate conventions, which urge all nations to work together to combat global climate change, and overlooks both the concept of climate justice emphasized in the Paris Agreement and the significance of calling on all nations to take climate action,” he explained.

Minister Chang warned: “This breach of the UN Charter weakens our international framework and harms the entire world.”

Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the Philippines, Michael Peiyung Hsu, the Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, has echoed the same warning. He said Taiwan’s absence at the UNFCCC “weakens the world’s ability to act as one.”

“It is unjust to keep Taiwan excluded from the UNFCCC and leave Taiwan to deal with the impact of climate change on its own,” Representative Hsu said. “Climate change concerns all humans. The climate change issue is a humanitarian issue as well as a global issue that knows no borders. Climate change requires not just national, but global solutions. It requires cross-border cooperation.”

Climate devastation indeed transcends borders and both the Philippines and Taiwan bear the brunt of climate change due to their close proximity to the Pacific Ocean where most typhoons are formed. With Mother Earth getting overheated with global warming, more deadly typhoons are on the horizon as climate change wreaks havoc across the planet.

It often happens that the typhoon hitting northern Luzon, particularly in Batanes, would be the same one devastating Taiwan. So close is Batanes to Taiwan’s southernmost tip that it’s like “one community, one typhoon.” Having a shared destiny – being ravaged by deadly typhoons – Filipinos need to support the Taiwanese people who want meaningful participation of their country in UN efforts to combat climate change.

But despite being excluded from UNFCCC, Taiwan has not wavered in its own efforts to fight climate change and help the international community.

Representative Hsu said that in June 2015, Taiwan passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, setting five-year regulatory carbon reduction targets in the hope of reducing Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050. It seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two percent by 2020, 10 percent by 2025, and 20 percent by 2030. He added that in August 2018, Taiwan amended its Air Pollution Control Act to reduce air pollution and accelerate Taiwan’s energy transformation.

Minister Chang said Taiwan has a clearly outlined roadmap for national carbon emission reduction. Its key points include: promoting energy transformation; assisting manufacturers to become green, low-carbon enterprises; developing green transportation and expanding the use of low-carbon vehicles; upgrading energy-saving design standards for the exteriors of new buildings; helping livestock farms recycle biogas; and strengthening methane recycling from waste landfills and industrial wastewater.

“The approval of a Greenhouse Gas Control Implementation Plan proposed by local governments shows how Taiwan is responding to climate change collectively, from a central level to a local level,” he said. “Our government has made significant progress in developing Taiwan’s renewable energy sector in recent years, actively pursuing policies designed to reduce coal-fired power generation, increase our use of natural gas, and promote green development. By 2025, we expect solar- and wind-power generation to produce 20?GW and 6.9?GW of electricity per year, respectively.”

He also cited Taiwan’s contributions towards improved global weather forecasting: “Since the launch of our FormoSat-3 satellite in 2006, Taiwan has amassed over 10 million items of meteorological data, which it has provided, free of charge, to experts and scholars around the world for use in their scientific research. Furthermore, data gathered following this year’s launch of the FormoSat-7 satellite will now improve accuracy even further when it comes to predicting severe weather events.”

With its immense contributions toward mitigating the impact of climate change, Taiwan has shown it can indeed be a valuable partner in the global response to the phenomenon now wreaking havoc across the planet.

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