EPA Minister Lee Exhibits Taiwan’s Role in Global Carbon Reduction at COP23 in Germany


Presided over by the island nation Fiji, the two-week UNFCCC COP23 that concluded on 18 November 2017 attracted over 20,000 attendees who discussed future action guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Taiwan took part in this important event with delegates from the public, academic, and industrial sectors, while being professional, practical, contributive and displaying a diverse and vibrant energy to establish a sustainable environment.

Meetings with heads of state and environmental ministers of diplomatic allies

Through arrangements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Taiwan’s Representative to Germany, Jhy-Wey Hsieh, the Executive Yuan’s delegation was able to hold 31 bilateral meetings with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and countries friendly toward Taiwan. The delegation leader, Minister Ying-Yuan Lee, took part in 19 meetings, including discussions with the heads of state of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, St. Lucia, Swaziland and Tuvalu. He also engaged in extensive and in-depth dialogues with environmental ministers and UN ambassadors of several other nations, as well as some members of the German parliament.

Interviews with multiple international media on Taiwan’ s determination regarding carbon reduction

During his stay in Germany, Minister Lee was interviewed by several Taiwanese and foreign media, such as Deutsche Welle (DW), TV Berlin, the (Taiwan) Central News Agency and Yahoo TV, and he spoke about Taiwan’s resolve and step-by-step concrete actions in energy transition and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The influential German magazines Business and Diplomacy featured Minister Lee in its November issue's cover story on Taiwan’s accomplishments and directions in response to climate change.

Let Taiwan Help. Leave No One Behind!

On 13 November, DW conducted a special interview with Minister Lee. The host expressed disbelief with Taiwan’s exclusion from UNFCCC events and other significant efforts to deal with climate change. The minister stated that being deliberately blocked from participating in the UNFCCC actually accentuates Taiwan’s difficult situation and arouses international attention and sympathy. A video was played before the interview, showing the impact of climate change on Taiwan as well as citizen protests against nuclear power. Referring to the clip, Minister Lee emphasized Taiwan’s current path of transition to clean energy in an attempt to meet its carbon reduction goals. This interview on DW’s English news channel could be seen by 100 million viewers.

14 diplomatic allies advocate for Taiwan’s participation in UN Climate Change Conferences

For speaking in support of Taiwan in senior meetings throughout the duration of COP23 in Bonn, the delegation expressed special thanks to 12 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies: Belize, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, the Solomon Islands, Swaziland and Tuvalu. Also, 14 of Taiwan’s allies presented letters to the Chair of the Conference, President Jioji Konrote of Fiji, and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat, Patricia Espinosa, to advocate for Taiwan’s inclusion and actual participation in UNFCCC meetings and other activities.

Both inside and outside the COP23 venue, a number of organizations from Taiwan actively voiced their views at exhibition stands and in speeches, emphasizing that Taiwan should take part in such a significant event. These included the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Taiwan Research Institute (TRI), the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE), the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation (EQPF), the Taiwan Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization Association (TCCSUA), the Taiwan Association of Sustainable Ecological Engineering Development (TASEED), Delta Electronics Foundation, the Foundation of Taiwan Industry Service (FTIS), Mom Loves Taiwan, and the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC). There were also city and regional representatives from Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Tainan, and Kaohsiung answering the call of the UNFCCC for public-private collaboration as well as for central-local government cooperation to combat climate change.

Answering the call for global carbon reduction actions, the Executive Yuan has mapped out general guidelines for greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation by approving the National Climate Change Action Guidelines ( 國家因應氣候變遷行動綱領 ) in February 2017. After consulting with the central government, the EPA also announced in November drafts of Taiwan’s Phase 1 goals for greenhouse gas emission controls, in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan ( 溫室氣體減量推動方案 ) and the Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Action Programs ( 溫室氣體排放管制行動方案 ). With initially slow and then accelerating carbon reduction measures, Taiwan is set to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 2% lower than that of the baseline year 2005 by 2020, to 10% lower by 2025, and to 20% lower by 2030. Moreover, practical interdepartmental measures have been brought up for energy, manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial, agricultural, and environmental sectors to share the responsibility to cut carbon emissions in order to gradually reach Taiwan’s long-term reduction goal of having the carbon emissions 50% lower than 2005 emission levels by the year 2050.

Future Outlook

Climate change is a scientifically proven fact that has real, major impacts on the planet and threatens human health and the sustainable development of the environment, societies, and economies. For a long time, Taiwan has been silently doing its duty by working relentlessly through bilateral and multilateral environmental agreements and cooperation. Hoping to establish partner relationships and face climate change alongside other members of the international community, Taiwan is more than willing to share its expertise and experiences in protecting the environment, assist nations in need, and build true friendships. Taiwan refuses to be absent in the fight to safeguard Earth against climate change, as it is of the utmost importance to build a sustainable environment for future generations.

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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