Andy Kang-I Chen: Taiwan should have a seat at the UN climate talks

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      By Andy Kang-I Chen

      As the impact of global climate change worsens, phenomena such as floods, droughts, heavy winds, and wildfires are likely to become the norm.

      Despite continually being excluded on the basis of political prejudice from international climate talks and lacking opportunities to pledge its commitments to supporting global climate action, Taiwan has found a way to contribute on the issue through a wide array of policies reducing carbon emissions and by strengthening its commitment to supporting developing countries.

      Though not bound by the international community, Taiwan passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act to slash the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050. Subsequently, Taiwan has also taken numerous adaptation actions related to such issues such as water management, public health, agriculture, and land use.

      Known for disaster response, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Taiwan has helped such countries as Belize and Honduras strengthen nationwide environmental monitoring and disaster-prevention systems through the reporting of land-use changes, the emergency monitoring of earthquakes and landslides, and the provision of associated training courses.

      Taiwan has been involved in long-standing cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Green Energy Special Fund and has contributed CDN$62 million to co-finance projects in green energy management in central Asian and eastern European countries. 

      World leaders are going to participate in the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Madrid from December 2 to December 13.

      Taiwan has been striving to join the annual talks on climate change. Unfortunately, China blocks Taiwan’s membership because it claims Taiwan as its own.

      However Taiwan has never been ruled by the People’s Republic of China, which certainly has no control over Taiwan’s environmental policy and enforcement.

      Few will disagree that the environment is a global common good. Taiwan’s exclusion from the UNFCCC is incompatible with its call for extensive global cooperation.

      Including it in the UNFCCC process would allow Taiwan to more easily share its technology, financial resources, and abundant experience dealing with natural disasters with the world. I sincerely call on all parties to look beyond political considerations and support Taiwan’s constructive participation in the UNFCCC.

      Andy Kang-I Chen is Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Vancouver.

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