Taiwan Continues To Tackle Climate Change Challenges

The Republic of China (Taiwan) is actively participating in global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and has encouraged its citizens as well as its international counterparts to contribute to these efforts.

In 2010, Taiwan voluntarily pledged to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat and the international community that the nation would set concrete emission reduction targets.

According to Stephen Shu-hung Shen, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration in the Republic of China (Taiwan) “mitigating climate change is the most pressing challenge the international community is facing today. It has a direct bearing on the sustainable development of nations around the world, as well as the survival of humankind.”

Mr. Shen stated that two strategic components can be distinguished in the nation’s endeavors to lessen the effects of climate change: “containing the phenomenon and adapting to it.” The Minister noted that with regards to containing climate change, the ROC government at the end of 2009 established the Executive Yuan Steering Committee on Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction, which is responsible for formulating a national master plan to reduce emissions. It aims to actively create a sound legal environment and green transportation infrastructure, as well as low-carbon energy systems, communities, and industries. Meanwhile, in 2012 Taiwan adopted national climate change adaptation guidelines covering eight major domains—disasters, essential infrastructure, water resources, land use, coastal areas, energy supply, biodiversity, and health.

The Minister added that the government is continuing to promote the passage of a Green House Gas Reduction Bill.

“This bill, along with the Energy Tax Bill that is currently being studied, the Energy Management Act that has already been implemented, and the Renewable Energy Development Statute, constitutes the legal framework for the reduction of greenhouse gases in Taiwan,” he said.

It was noted that President Ma Ying-jeou explicitly stated that “developing an environment characterized by low carbon emissions and high reliance on green energy” is one of the five pillars of Taiwan’s national development, so as to gradually transform Taiwan into a “low-carbon, green-energy island.”

In 2009, member countries of the United Nations for the first time invited the ROC government to formally participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer and has continued to attend every year since. Furthermore, in September 2013 Taiwan was invited to attend the 38th Session of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization as a guest of the President of the Council. Taiwan’s participation in these two bodies is of great symbolic meaning and has given the nation considerable encouragement. Mr. Shen expressed that it is hoped that “the international community will take into account these precedents and allow Taiwan to substantively participate in the UNFCCC. This will enable us to receive support from and contribute to the international community.”

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