Not Absent from Climate Change Conference, Taiwan Shares Professional and Practical Experience

Font Size[ Large Medium Small ]

The UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) COP25 took place in Madrid, Spain, on December 2. It was extended and ended on December 15, without completing the final piece of Paris Agreement. The key issues including Article 4, Response Measures, Article 6, International carbon market mechanisms, and Article 8, loss and damage mentioned in Warsaw International Mechanism are left unsolved and waiting for further negotiation of COP26, which will take place in November next year in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. This year, the representative group of Executive Yuan led by Minister of EPA, Chang Tzi-Chin, could not participate in the discussion as a contracting party as before under the pressure of China. However, with the efforts of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Oficina Económica y Cultural de Taipei, we have successfully promoted Taiwan’s endeavor in climate change and energy transition. The related sector representarives, local governments, and private groups have also actively attended many side events. By sticking to the principles of “professionalism, pragmatism, and contribution,” we never absent ourselves from the fights against climate change but contribute to the world and the nations in need.
The host of COP 25 is Chile. Last month, it announced to change the venue from Santiago, Chile, to Madrid, Spain. Despite the abrupt change, there were still more than 20,000 participants from all over the world. The units in our country also completed all the jobs in just several weeks. The ambassador of Oficina Económica y Cultural de Taipei, Liu Der-li, and the colleagues exerted their creativity to spread the propaganda in the surroundings of the conference through the advertisement “Combating Climate Change, Taiwan Can Help” accompanied by the subway cars and minibuses painted with the patterns of wind turbines, Tung blossoms, and paper mulberry, which were quite eye-catching. During the conference, the thirteen friendly countries including Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Republic of Palau, Belize, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingdom of Eswatini, and Guatemala gave a speech or sent a letter to make the appeal that Taiwan should not be excluded from UNFCCC. There are also twelve congressmen from the like-minded countries writing letters to the secretariat of UNFCCC, proposing questions and writing public posts to the administrative sectors to support the practical participation of our country.
During the conference, the members of Legislative Yuan, Yeh Yi-Jin, Yu Wan-Ju, and Chen Man-Li also joined the congressional diplomatic activities. Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged more than forty bilateral meetings with the leaders or representatives from the friendly and like-minded countries, including President of Tuvalu, President of Kingdom of Eswatini, and the ministers of environment and congressmen of several countries. The interaction with other countries was even closer than ever. Interviewed by the international media including Deutsche Welle, and the mainstream media in Spain, Diario ABC and La Razón, Minister Chang talked about the energy transition and practical carbon reduction strategies. He explained that Taiwan is willing to contribute to the combat against climate change together even though we are not a contracting party. Many countries and media inquire how to reduce marine waste. Minister Chang also responded in details and shared the experience of Taiwan with the world in terms of the global environmental issues.
There were many diverse forces from all walks of life in Taiwan actively voicing out for us in the venue through the exhibition booths and the related meeting and speeches, including Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan Research Institute, Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environmental Quality Protection Foundation, Foundation of Taiwan Industry Service, Taiwan Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization Association, Mom Loves Taiwan, Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition, Delta Electronics Foundation, and Taiwan Association of Sustainable Ecological Engineering Development as well as the city representatives from Taipei City, Taoyuan City, and Tainan City. They responded to the agreement and called on the combination of the public and private sections and the coordination between the central and local government to in response to climate change.
To cooperate with the global carbon reduction practice, our country has decided on the “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action” and the carbon reduction responsibility shared by the six sectors including energy, production, transportation, households and business, agriculture, and environment. This September, we also completed “Greenhouse Gas Control Implementation Plan” proposed by the twenty-two city and county governments based on the local conditions. This corresponds to the agreement’s appeal of the open and transparent national contribution. The strategic direction of the energy transition in our country is based on the principle of the clean energy development to “expand green energy, increase natural gas, and reduce coal.” On November 12 this year, the first commercial-scale “offshore wind farm” officially started to operate. The offshore wind farm off the coast of Miaoli will offer electricity to 128,000 households every year. Taiwan has put the plan into practice and taken a further step toward the energy transition goal that the renewable energy will be increased to 20 percent by 2025. The plan for the zonal development policy of 10GW renewable energy in the 10 years from 2026 to 2035 has also started to gradually head toward a country of green energy.
In 2015, “Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act” passed and clearly set up the country’s goal of carbon reduction in the long term. In 2050, we will lower the greenhouse gas emission to less than 50 percent of that in 2005. In the same year, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) was also proposed. In 2030, the emission will be reduced by 20 percent compared with that in 2005. Taiwan is one of a few countries putting the long-term carbon reduction goal in law. In retrospect of the experience of the past four years enacting “Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act,” we will need more control tools and the incentive-based system. Therefore, EPA will launch the review and adjustment of the act, including strengthening the reduction management system of the sectors, intensifying the control over large emission sources and declaration method, implementing the spirit of polluter pays, and reinforcing the adjustment to climate change. In the near future, EPA will conduct the reduction responsibility distribution on each sector’s second-phase greenhouse gas control goal (2021-2025), establish the process, and implement the public participation procedure.
This time Minister Chang also went to Brussels, Belgium, to attend “EU-TW Circular Economy Seminar 2019,” co-hosted by EPA and the EU on December 9. Besides co-hosting the opening ceremony with the director-general of DG GROW, Mr. Timo Pesonen, he also visited the deputy director-general of DG ENV, Ms. Joanna Drake, to share the experiences and results in terms of the issues of EU-TW plastic recycling, solar panel design and recycling, and circular construction. Next year, EPA plans to hold the series activities of “European Innovation Week” and “Circular Economy Week” and invite the EU high-level representatives to Taiwan to join us. Besides, the EU-TW industrial cooperation will also make Taiwan an island of circular economy together.
In the international society, Taiwan is a sincere friend taking responsibility and contributing a lot. In the long term, we offer the assistance and exchange to other countries in public health, medical care, agricultural technology, and pollution control. In the future, we will continue to contribute more and actively participate in the global issues of climate change and environmental management to do our share as the global citizens. Taiwan will walk toward the world, and the world will also walk in Taiwan.