Tue, Nov 14, 2017 - Page 1 News List

EPA head barred from summit

‘BLIND SPOT’:A delegation from the Belgian parliament visited the EPA, after which the head issued a statement supporting Taiwan in the fight against climate change

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA, BONN, Germany

Delegates attend a session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Friday in Bonn, Germany.

Photo: CNA

Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) was not able to attend a climate change conference in Germany on Sunday due to objections from China.

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held at the UNFCCC Secretariat headquarters in Bonn, Germany, from Monday last week to Friday.

Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made advance arrangements for a Taiwanese delegation headed by Lee to attend the meetings, Lee was not allowed to enter the venue.

“Taiwan hopes to reach out to the world and hold dialogue with other nations,” Lee told the Central News Agency. “It is the world’s responsibility to have Taiwan take part in [these] meetings, because the existence of Taiwan’s 23 million people is an irrefutable reality.”

“There is no need for us to name the country concerned, but a big nation should not be so narrow-minded,” he said.

Despite the obstruction, Lee managed to engage with delegates from other nations.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, among others, attended a lunch banquet hosted by the foreign ministry.

Although not a member of the UN, Taiwan’s EPA ministers used to take part in climate change meetings as senior advisers to non-governmental organizations.

Earlier on Sunday, Lee voiced support for detailing Taiwan’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions projected to peak next year.

“The government hopes to decrease the ratio of thermal power in energy provision to 30 percent by 2025 to dramatically reduce the problem of air pollution,” he said.

As for the much-discussed energy tax, Lee said the issue would be considered only when Taiwan’s economy has fully stabilized and recovered.

The nation will not be absent in the global fight against climate change, Lee said in a statement yesterday, quoting Confucius’ saying that “virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

A parliamentary delegation from Belgium visited the EPA on Wednesday last week upon the invitation of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, the EPA said, adding that they mainly exchanged opinions about the development of a circular economy.

Delegation head Peter Luykx on Thursday issued a statement saying that Taiwan is “a blind spot in the fight against climate change.”

Luykx’s statement can be viewed online at www.peterluykx.be/nieuws/taiwan-een-blinde-vlek-in-de-strijd-tegen-klimaatverandering.

Taiwan was not invited to the UNFCCC conference because of the “one China” principle, he said.

“Nevertheless, Taiwan has never used this as an excuse to shirk its responsibilities as a stakeholder in the international community. The ambitious Taiwan-2025 plan is only one of many examples,” he said, referring to the nation’s plan to phase out nuclear power by 2025.

“Taiwan, a densely populated island exposed to extreme weather events, as well as the world’s 21st-largest CO2 emitter, has the right to contribute to and become involved in the work of the UNFCCC,” he said.

“Through Luykx’s comments, we hope the international community will see the bright side of Taiwan’s contributions to environmental protection, rather than treating the nation as a blind spot,” the EPA said.

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