Global Challenge Requiring Global Response

Dr. Lee Ying-yuan

Dr. Lee Ying-yuan

Minister

Environmental Protection Administration

Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (Taiwan)

November 2018

Continued growth in emissions of greenhouse gases around the world has caused abnormal and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts, and catastrophic torrential rains. These events are no longer just abstract future scenarios; they are happening today in all corners of the globe.

Average temperatures in Taiwan in the past two years have been the highest in 100 years. Since 2017, rainfall has dropped markedly, affecting Taiwan’s hydroelectricity generation. Indeed, these recent developments are having a considerable impact and pose a significant threat.

Other parts of the world have witnessed similar trends. During the 2018 summer season, many countries across the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa have experienced record-breaking heatwaves and deadly wildfires that seriously jeopardize human health, agriculture, natural ecosystems, and infrastructure.

To further implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and achieve the goals outlined therein, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in addition to faithfully conducting important projects, consultations, and negotiations, has also invited parties from various fields to join the Talanoa Dialogue, so as to take full advantage of the collective wisdom of humankind in formulating workable solutions to climate change.

As a member of the global village, and in line with the Paris Agreement, Taiwan has actively encouraged all stakeholders to do their part and strengthen efforts toward reducing carbon emissions. Taiwan has passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, under which five-year carbon reduction targets have been formulated.

Taiwan has also created the National Climate Change Action Guidelines and implemented the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan, which targets six major sectors: energy, manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial development, agriculture, and environmental management.

By setting emission caps, promoting green finance initiatives, cultivating local talent pools and education, encouraging cooperation across central and local government agencies and across industries, and involving the general public, Taiwan seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to less than 50% of 2005 levels.

Almost 90% of Taiwan’s annual greenhouse gas emissions come from fuel combustion. The government is striving to increase the share of renewable sources in overall energy generation to 20% by 2025, and raise the share of energy produced with natural gas up to 50%.

At the same time, Taiwan is gradually reducing its reliance on coal, closing older coal facilities and equipping the remaining ones with high-efficiency ultra-supercritical units that cause less pollution. The government is also investing in other equipment and technology that can help reduce pollution, offering subsidies to encourage people to replace older vehicles as well as promoting electric vehicles. Earlier in 2018, Taiwan’s Air Pollution Control Act was amended, with stronger measures to curtail air pollution and accelerate Taiwan’s energy transition.

Taiwan’s energy policies are being promoted in consideration of four core aspects: energy security, green economy, environmental sustainability, and social fairness. Furthermore, Taiwan is working on an energy transformation white paper and encouraging public participation and input during this process. It is also implementing key action plans under the Energy Development Guidelines, so as to make a decisive shift towards sustainable energy development.

The pursuit of economic growth often comes at the expense of environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources. According to research by the Global Footprint Network, human consumption of natural resources is outpacing the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to regenerate resources by a factor of 1.7. In fact, in 2018, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 1, which was earlier than ever before.

In order to find a proper balance between economic development and environmental protection, Taiwan is promoting the circular economy as part of the Five Plus Two Innovative Industries program. There is a widespread international consensus that the circular economy plays a vital role in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Taiwan has already made significant progress over the past two decades in recycling and reusing resources. In fact, in 2017, Taiwan’s resource recovery rate was 52.5%, a ratio surpassed only by Germany and Austria. The recycling rate of plastic bottles in Taiwan in 2017 was 95%. And during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, about half of the 32 teams in the tournament wore jerseys produced with recycled bottles from Taiwan.

Looking to the future, Taiwan will continue to strengthen technological R&D and innovation, so as to bolster recycling while building integrated industrial value chains. The goal is to achieve a situation in which there is zero waste and everything that can be recycled is recycled. Taiwan is more than willing to share its technology and experience with the international community.

By advancing environmental sustainability, we can ensure that our planet remains as uniquely beautiful and habitable as it has been more for millions of years. All countries and parties should take part in this common endeavor.

 Having benefited tremendously from industrialization, Taiwan is now fully committed to playing a key role in saving the planet and its precious ecosystems. Taiwan is ready and willing to share its knowledge and experience in environmental management, disaster prevention and warning systems, energy efficiency enhancement technology, and application of innovative technology.

Climate change is a matter of our planet’s survival, and should not be reduced to a political issue. Taiwan has long been unfairly disregarded by and isolated from the United Nations system.

 This has not discouraged us. On the contrary, we have doubled our efforts based on our belief in the Confucian saying that “a man of morality will never live in solitude; he will always attract companions.” In a professional, pragmatic, and constructive manner, Taiwan will seek meaningful participation in international organizations and events, and fulfill its responsibilities as a member of the international community. Let Taiwan join the world, and let the world embrace Taiwan.

2 Comments

  1. Unfortunately the Global Warming scenario is all untrue. I say unfortunately because if it were true we would be able to have some control over the weather. CO2 levels are actually low right now, not high. CO2 is not a pollutant, it is one of the most necessary elements for life on our planet. Do not confuse it with Carbon Monoxide (CO). If we were able to significantly reduce the CO2 levels, life on the planet would die. Plants need CO2 for Photosynthesis, which, in part, creates elements which Mammals need to breath along with other benefits we need to live. There is a Global Ecosystem where the Plant Phylum supports Phylum Chordate (Mammals). The bad weather is driven about 98% by Solar Activity, about 1% by seismic activity on the planet (which indirectly is also, in part driven by the sun), and almost 1% is driven by humans, provided we refrain from the use of such things as Nuclear Weapons.
    The misinformation promoted mostly by those that own the oil companies (such as the big banks) that are largely responsible for Global Pollution, is designed to steer the Global Population into certain activities such as sending your children off to fight wars for resources that make them wealthy and powerful, and to pay Global Taxes that we are told is going to make the bad weather go away.
    I studied this at the University in the 1980s when it was called “The Greenhouse Effect” when we were told that the ozone layer was going to disappear and we were all going to “burn-up”. Classes I took in Atmospheric Science (weather) and Ecology and Biology fascinated me, but even then it was mostly theory with evidence to prove more than just one “belief”. All the predictions of major cities being underwater by the year 2000, and no more snow and ice on planet earth by the year 2013 never came to pass. In fact the ice mass on the North Pole is the largest and thickest since they have been taking records. Real scientists, that are not paid off, fear we are going into another Maunder Minimum, a mini Ice Age like during the Victorian Era.

    I would be very surprised if the editor of this site publishes my comment because the information I have stated is TABOO! for the Global Establishment. Scientists are paid-off for supporting the FAKE scenario. Those that do not support it are fired from their jobs and discredited. Politicians are promised large tax rewards, and a “pat on the back” for instituting such policies as when Saint Vincent started the “Room Tax”. The Global Warming fraud is in fact the largest fraud in history and if things play-out as they plan, industrial nations will get a license to pollute far more than they do today and countries such as Saint Vincent will be far poorer than you can imagine all under the belief that we are going to help “Save the Planet”.

    I want to see if the editor has the courage to publish my comment that gives the reader food to do their own research in order to learn the truth. Hillary Clinton stated that those that do not believe the Global Warming scenario should get the death penalty. This is the biggest “cash cow” ever for the greedy powerful establishment and they will fight, destroy and even kill anyone who threatens it.

  2. Car emissions and pollutants destroy our environment. Excessive use of plastics, such as is very much promoted by Taiwan, along with all the industrial waste, makes all life miserable. We should all stay vigilant in believing the information from these tricksters. They mix in true and vital information along with FAKE information to confuse us into believing that they really do care, and some of them do; but they just do not have the education to give us accurate information and are led-along by the nose by those that have a different agenda, namely, wealth and power.
    The emissions gas mentioned in this article is CO, (Carbon Monoxide) a deadly poison, not CO2, a much-needed life-supporting element.

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