The scale and severity of the climate challenges we face are clear. The adverse effects of climate change are felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet and its people. Taiwan is no exception. Taiwan, as an island, is especially vulnerable to the storms and floods that are becoming more severe as the climate changes. Taiwan’s main cities and industrial assets are on the coast and will be in the front line of rising sea levels as the polar ice melts.
The Paris Agreement on climate change has set out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change. It has set the direction of travel for the global transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies and societies.
However, we already know that the emissions reduction targets put forward in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5°C. The upcoming special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will unfortunately show us that the window to stay within these limits is closing very fast. This is why we must continue to raise our collective global ambition and speed up the implementation and operationalisation of the Paris Agreement based on solutions and potential associated with the low-carbon transformation, making sure that we do not leave anyone behind.
The EU is well-advanced in putting in place its domestic legislative framework for delivering its target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This includes, for example, revising the EU emissions trading system for the period after 2020, setting national emissions reduction targets for sectors not covered by emissions trading, and integrating land use in our climate legislation. These key pieces of legislation were all recently adopted, and further proposals on clean energy and mobility are in the pipeline. In this context, the EU has recently agreed to increase its renewable and energy efficiency targets to 32% and 32.5% respectively.
In parallel, we are looking beyond 2030. In March 2018, EU leaders asked the European Commission to present, within 12 months, a proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction, following a similar request from the European Parliament. The Commission will make its proposal ahead of COP24 in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, to provide a solid foundation for an EU-wide debate. Simultaneously, the EU is stepping up international cooperation and support to partners outside the EU, for example through policy dialogues, capacity-building projects and climate finance. For global efforts to have the desired impact, a decisive response is required from all nations and particularly from the major economies, which together account for some 80% of global emissions.
The EU commends Taiwan’s efforts to address climate change. Although Taiwan is not a contracting party of the Paris Agreement it has adopted the National Climate Change Action Guidelines on 23 February 2017 based on the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act. Through these guidelines Taiwan aims to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050. In January 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency published the 1st periodic target to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas by 2% in 2020, compared to 2005 level. We would encourage Taiwan to continue on this path and to commit to higher standards of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. One very important factor to address climate change is energy. Taiwan has taken concrete steps towards a more sustainable energy supply by setting a 20% target for renewables in its energy mix by 2025. We commend Taiwan’s important steps to meet this target, for instance by its recent decisions to promote offshore wind power. Wind power is a clean, sustainable and unlimited form of energy and, as multiple studies have shown, Taiwan is ideally placed to use this form of energy.
Besides the promotion of clean energy we would also see a great potential in Taiwan to take further steps in areas of energy efficiency and energy savings. For example, Taiwan’s announcement last year that the sale of fossil fuel vehicles will be banned by 2040 is a positive step, and matches similar announcements made by a number of EU countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from transport.
During this week’s annual EU Climate Action week we will organise several events with the objective to raise awareness and to mobilize each of us to contribute to limiting the effects of climate change. This is a concern to all of us and we all have the responsibility to adapt to these new challenges — in Taiwan and in Europe.
While the Paris Agreement sets the direction of travel, the journey has only just begun. Going forward, we will need to foster the right environment to enable this transformation, to support a long-term structural change in energy systems worldwide and to shift and scale up investments that contribute to it. In doing so, we leave future generations a better world in which they can live in.
Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth brings multiple and tangible benefits for people, the economy and the environment. The EU is committed to work with all partners to continue this journey together. As a like-minded partner, we hope that Taiwan will work with us to promote a sustainable global climate system.
Ms. Madeleine Majorenko, Head of European Economic and Trade Office
Mr. Albin Mauritz, Director of Austrian Office Taipei
Mr. Rik Van Droogenbroeck, Director of Belgian Office Taipei
Mr. Nicholas Enersen, Director of The Trade Council of Denmark, Taipei
Mr. Jari Seilonen, Representative of Finland Trade Center in Taipei
Mr. Benoît Guidée, Director of The French Office in Taipei
Mr. Thomas Prinz, Director General of German Institute Taipei
Mr. Janos Albert, Representative of Hungarian Trade Office
Mr. Donato Scioscioli, Representative of Italian Economic, Trade and Investment Office, Taipei
Ms. Tania Berchem, Director Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office, Taipei
Mr. Guy Wittich, Representative of Netherlands Trade and Investment Office
Mr. Maciej Gaca, Director General of Polish Office in Taipei
Mr. Martin Podstavek, Representative of Slovak Economic and Cultural Office, Taipei
Mr. Jose Luis Echaniz Cobas, Director General of Spanish Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Hakan Jevrell, Representative of Business Sweden-The Swedish Trade and Invest Council
Ms. Catherine Nettleton, Representative of British Office
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