Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) urged the UN to be inclusive of all political entities in the fight against climate change and pursuit of carbon reduction.
Speaking on Monday at a forum on the sidelines of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Wei said Taiwan’s exclusion from the meeting as a political entity needed to change.
Taiwan has taken measures to reduce carbon emissions, including passing the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法) and putting forward Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), but the nation remains ostracized, he said.
“Obviously, Taiwan has disappeared from the INDC map” published on the UNFCCC Web site, Wei said, referring to public commitments on the reductions in emissions each nation is willing to make by 2030.
“With such intentional blindness in the international community, it is ironic that one cannot see the real existence of Taiwan in the UN’s bright meeting rooms,” Wei said.
The Republic of China has been excluded from UN organizations since it was ousted from the UN in 1971 and supplanted by China.
Beijing has generally suppressed Taipei’s role in the international community and prevents it from participating in UN activities, including the Paris meeting, being held in Le Bourget in suburban Paris through Friday.
Taiwan has a delegation of 50 attending COP21 activities, which is led by the Industrial Technology Research Institute, which is a non-governmental organization.
As part of the delegation, Wei is the nation’s first EPA head to be at a COP climate-change meeting, even if he cannot participate in any official or observer-state capacity.
Speaking at one of the conference’s side events, Wei said it was ironic that Taiwan has been ignored in climate change forums even as it generated more pollution.
He said Taiwan was not originally on the world map in the ranking of carbon dioxide emitting countries, but because of the nation’s industrialization starting in the 1970s, it has imported more coal and oil, and emissions have increased significantly.
“Although small, Taiwan is a major emitter in the eyes of the International Energy Agency, but in the eyes of the world, we are always seen by choice, or not seen at all,” Wei said.
Taiwan’s overall emissions have leveled off somewhat over the past seven years — despite an increase in GDP — mainly as a result of improvements in energy efficiency, industrial transformation and efforts on energy conservation and carbon emissions reductions, Wei said.
If Taiwan were a member of the UNFCCC, it would propose several points at the meetings, Wei said.
It would urge the world to pay attention to the effects of global warming and sea-level rise on island nations; treat equally the “historical responsibility” and “future responsibility” of greenhouse gas emissions; and establish a fair third-party verification platform to audit emissions inventories of the parties.
It would also appeal to improve the functions of an international collaboration platform on technology, finance and law to complete a transition from a “carbon economy” to a “green economy,” Wei said.
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