However, compared to the situation in 2009, the political environment that followed the US withdrawal in 2017, which left a leadership vacuum in international climate policy, offers a window of opportunity for China to assume a new role: that of a universal leader in the fight against global warming. This allows it both to increase its soft power and to project the image of a strong global hegemon (the realpolitik aspect) with an environmentally friendly face (the humanitarian soft power aspect). First, Taiwan`s exclusion from the UNFCCC means that the country has not signed the Paris Agreement. However, the Taiwanese government has pledged to voluntarily ratify the agreement. As a result, it has produced its own Nationally Determined Contribution – the document that each country must submit to the UNFCCC, setting out fair and ambitious actions it will take to contribute to global climate efforts. Yet despite these good intentions, national environmental NGOs have criticized the Taiwanese government for its lack of conviction to turn this climate rhetoric into reality. Pragmatically, Taiwan`s exclusion from the UNFCCC means that a country of 23 million people whose per capita emissions are almost three times higher than the global average will not be included in the legally binding agreement. An agreement widely considered the best chance in the world to avoid dangerous climate change. Secondly, international summits and conferences are not only agreements and commitments, but also spaces for mutual learning and the formation of alliances between countries. The complexity of the climate challenge means that peer-to-peer learning between nations – or between cities and regions – is an essential element in increasing successful innovation and learning from failures. The limited room for Taiwan to participate in climate conferences at the state level may therefore limit the ability of other countries to learn from aspects where Taiwan has achieved good results, such as the rapid deployment of offshore wind and the development of participatory and deliberative approaches to decision-making.
Conversely, this exclusion can also make it difficult for Taiwan to learn from other cases around the world to support areas where its climate response is insufficient. When Taiwan tried to accede to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last year, Taipei officials said why not. Their government had a constitution, armed forces and a ministry of foreign affairs, all the characteristics of a country like any other signatory to the 25-year-old convention. Taiwan claims to have the expertise and determination to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is perfect to play a role in the UN`s global greenhouse gas reduction process. Article 4(16) of the Paris Agreement provides that the Parties, including regional economic integration organisations and their Member States, shall communicate with the Secretariat of the Agreement on their successive NDCs and the emission level allocated to each Party during the relevant period. Although Taiwan has not signed the Paris Agreement, it is even more determined to achieve a net-zero future than most other countries. Not only the Taiwanese government, but also many Taiwanese companies have demonstrated their commitment to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Thanks to the joint efforts of Taiwan`s private and public sectors, the country is steadily moving closer to its net-zero carbon emissions targets. Given Taiwan`s importance as the world`s 21st largest economy and a heavyweight in the global supply chain, this net-zero emissions future will be a pipe dream if Taiwan doesn`t do its part.
Needless to say, it is fundamentally difficult to find a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability, but Taiwan is striving to do so. In my opinion, Taiwan deserves greater participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to contribute more, as it is a responsible actor in the international community and has striven to ensure a more livable future. Despite this exclusion, Taiwan has closely monitored climate action and published its own emission reduction plans in line with the Paris Agreement. In April, President Tsai Ing-wen promised to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The Paris Agreement was reached in 2015 when 195 participating countries agreed on a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Specifically, this agreement addresses the mitigation, adaptation and financing of greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or UNFCCC). Hioe, B. (2021). Politics across the Strait and the international spectrum of climate change in Taiwan.
Overview of Taiwan. Available online at: taiwaninsight.org/2021/03/25/cross-strait-politics-and-the-international-spectre-of-climate-change-in-taiwan/ Grano, S. (2019). Climate policy: Can these policies increase Taiwan`s international recognition? Overview of Taiwan. Available online at: taiwaninsight.org/2019/04/25/climate-change-politics-can-these-boost-raise-taiwans-international-recognition/ As Taiwan is not recognized as a member of the United Nations, it is excluded from the UNFCCC and other climate change-related forums such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. While Taiwan was an observer when the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the Tsai administration has fewer and fewer opportunities to participate in international conferences. Nevertheless, Taiwan`s marginalization in global climate protection extends far beyond UN AGREEMENTS at the state level and into scientific research processes and semi-formal spaces for global exchange and learning. As we point out in a recent peer-reviewed article on Frontiers in Climate, the marginal or at least inconsistent recognition of Taiwan raises serious challenges for effective evidence-based global action on climate change in at least three ways. This new climate agreement adopts the bottom-up approach enshrined in the Copenhagen Accords in 2009. It requires countries to publicly declare the climate measures they plan to take for the post-2020 period, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). With the presentation of NDCs by 188 parties, the commitment to achieve specific national emission reduction targets has become almost universal. Nature Index (2020).
Taiwan| Outings| Nature index. Retrieved from: www.natureindex.com/country-outputs/taiwan (accessed October 19, 2020). As countries work to update the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement at this year`s United Nations Global Climate Summit, Taiwan has been forced to stay home. To this end, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. This is where countries will come together to develop strategies and agreements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus control this growing crisis. The international climate policy arena also has a direct influence on Taiwan. In 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed on the 21st. „Conference of the Parties” (COP21), the United States was still governed by the Obama administration and was one of the 195 signatories to the agreement. In June 2017, Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement, which has been criticized by many heads of state and interest groups around the world. Fan, M. F.
(2016). Environmental Justice and Risk Policy: Controversies Over Water Resources in Taiwan. Human ecol. 44, 425-434. doi: 10.1007/s10745-016-9844-7 Some of Taiwan`s diplomatic allies went to the United Nations to give Taiwan permission to hold events, and everyone knew why they asked, says the EPA representative. Fourteen diplomatic allies have also written letters to the 197 parties to the convention, demanding that Taiwan „not be excluded from the convention,” the EPA said in a Chinese-language statement Monday. Cyclists ride on a bike path in Taipei, where the city promotes this mode of transportation. [+] to reduce car traffic.
(SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images) National statistics (2021). National statistics, Republic of China (Taiwan). Available online at: eng.stat.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=5 However, less than a month before Taiwan`s presidential and parliamentary elections, the fight against climate change has not become a key pillar of the platform of one of the two main parties, as President Tsai Ing-wen and her challenger, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, argue over Taiwan`s relations with China. Liao, K. H., and Chan, J. K. H. (2016). What is ecological wisdom and how does it relate to ecological knowledge? Landscape maps of the city. 155, 111–113.
doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.07.006 However, against this backdrop of growing global ambitions to combat climate change, there is an urgent need for countries like Canada to make additional efforts to support Taiwan`s meaningful participation. „We need to open the door and allow Taiwan to become a full member of the climate change community and participate as a party to the conference and the Paris Agreement,” Natano said. While few are optimistic that Taiwan will be allowed to attend the summit before its end on Friday, observers say growing international sympathy for the autonomous democratic island could help its cause in the face of China`s increasingly bellicose threats. Impressions left in other parts of the world? „Taiwan is quite proactive, and it`s a country that can do things,” the lawmaker said. When the talks began last week, Taiwanese lawmaker Wang Ting-yu joked on Twitter: „If Xi Jinping doesn`t even bother to show up.”