By Stephen Shu-hung Shen
CHICAGO — Global warming is a danger to sustainable development and the survival of Homo sapiens and other species on Planet Earth. Countries the world over — including Taiwan, the Republic of China — have come to regard it as a prime threat to national security. Consequently, they are striving to develop and implement strategies to ensure our common well-being.
Despite the exclusion of Taiwan from participation in the forums of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — for complex historical reasons — the government of Taiwan has taken action to halt global warming and usher in a “Green New Deal” for the nation and for the world by cutting energy consumption and reducing carbon emissions. In line with the UNFCCC Copenhagen Accord of 2009, our government in 2010 declared to the UNFCCC Secretariat that by 2020, we will cut our “business-as-usual” (BAU) level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 30 percent — a sharper reduction than what has been pledged by other countries.
In pursuit of that goal, our government’s Master Plan of Energy Conservation and Carbon Mitigation calls for concrete “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMAs) in the energy, industrial, transportation, construction, residential and commercial sectors. In preparation for implementing programs for reduction of GHG emissions, our Environmental Protection Administration is putting in place mechanisms to ensure that our actions and their results are measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) in accordance with UNFCCC requirements.
In the spirit of reinforcing accountability, Our government is also drafting a “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act” and an “Energy Tax Act,” which, in combination with existing legislation will serve as an effective regulatory foundation for boosting energy efficiency across the board, expanding our renewable energy generation capacity, empowering our citizens to take the initiative in adopting green lifestyles, creating new employment opportunities based on green products and services, and reinvigorating our industries.
As a major pillar of President Ma Ying-jeou’s vision of a “golden decade” of sustainable national development and environmental preservation, he has pledged to forcefully pursue multipronged strategies to achieve the above-stated goals. From the President on down, energy conservation and carbon mitigation have become much more than slogans for Taiwan’s people. For us, the creation of a low-carbon society and caring for our natural environment have become the basis of a “new life movement.”
Taiwan deeply cares about global warming and the dangers it poses to life on Earth. But collective problems demand collective solutions. To deal effectively with the most serious challenge of the century—climate change— Taiwan needs to participate in activities of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties. We hope that our global partners will affirm this reality and make Taiwan part of the solution. In return, we are committed to sharing our insights, experiences and resources with all in quest of planet-wide security and well-being.
Stephen Shu-hung Shen is the Minister of Environmental Protection Administration for the Republic of China (Taiwan).