Written by Yunaw Sili and Besu Piyas. The story began in 2006. That year, the Council of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan issued a guideline stating that if Indigenous students need preferential treatment for college admission, they must pass the national Indigenous language certification test. As a result, many parents were worried that their children’s access to higher education would become more difficult. Because of this issue, we started our grassroots organising work in Hanxi Village, Datong Township of Yilan County. That was the first time we engaged and coordinated with the community people on local concerns. On April 19th, 2006, we demonstrated in front of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, fighting for our youth’s college rights.
Written by Simona Grano. Since the early 1990s, Taiwan has been developing its energy policies in response to the trends established by the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Even though Taiwan is not a signatory Party, a Taiwanese delegation has never been absent from the UNFCCC.
Written by Chien Te Fan. Taiwan, also known in Europe as Formosa in the mid-16th century, is an island country with rich biodiversity. However, in the Pacific Rim seismic zone and the main path of typhoons in the Northwest Pacific region, Taiwan has been one of the most vulnerable countries threatened by the current climate crisis. Therefore, since the late 19th century, Taiwan has been striving to maintain its precious natural resources and resilience to survive the effects of industrialisation and adapt to climate change.
Written by Leslie Mabon. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) arguably represents an unprecedented level of international cooperation on a global problem. Therefore, the 2021 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC – COP26 in Glasgow – is especially significant. COP26 marks five years (including a one-year pause due to COVID) since the Paris Agreement and is the first point at which countries must update their pledges for action to limit global warming to as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible. Yet despite the importance of COP26 and the UNFCCC to find ways of avoiding harmful climate change, one high-emitting country of 23 million people will be absent from the negotiations – Taiwan.
Written by Col. Bob Stewart and Lord Rogan. With the COP26 Conference in Glasgow fast approaching, the UK Government has made the challenge of addressing climate change a priority for post-Brexit Britain. It is one of the platforms being used to launch ‘Global Britain’ back onto the world stage, and there is a great deal riding on COP26 delivering tangible results that can make a real difference in the years ahead.
Written by Huang-Hsiung Hsu. The year 2021 is undoubtedly the Year of Climate Change: The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) released the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on 9 August. Furthermore, the Nobel Physics Prize was awarded to two climate change scientists on 5 October, and the UNFCCC COP26 is taking place in Glasgow on 1-12 November. e AR6 Working Group I report warned that a 1.5°C warming relative to 1850–1900 will occur in the next two decades regardless of what emission scenario might be taken, including the one that would limit warming below 1.5°C by the end of the century.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. On Earth Day (April 22) of 2021, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen unveiled the goal of realizing carbon neutrality by 2050. By then, Taiwan is expected to absorb or eliminate all locally generated greenhouse gas to reduce the net emission to zero. Tsai reiterated this pledge in the National Day (October 10) speech. The government is also preparing to amend the 2015 Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (GGRMA) by stipulating the net-zero commitment and adopting the measure of carbon pricing. As the world leaders are gathered for the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), more than 130 countries made official promises to go net zero.
Written by Denis Simon. In early 2021, Taiwan’s health care system was ranked number one globally for the third year in a row by NUMBEO’s Annual Online Survey. Its overall performance buoyed the island’s ability to consistently earn such a high ranking during the first 12-14 months of the Covid-19 global pandemic beginning in 2020. Taiwan officials initially were able to ward off any significant damage from the pandemic by pursuing a highly aggressive strategy to keep the virus at bay. While other international rankings, such as the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, do not rank Taiwan as number one in its rating system, there is consensus across the board internationally that the government has proven itself highly effective at managing its single-payer health care system, mainly due to its innovative approach to digital health records.
Written by Huang-Hsiung Hsu. Taiwan is currently suffering a severe drought. Water use restriction on agriculture, livelihood, and industry has been mounting since autumn 2020. No landfalling typhoons (except a minor one passing through the Luzon Strait in early November 2020 that brought very little precipitation) for the first time in 57 years led to our low water level in major reservoirs. These dry conditions were compounded by the following spring rainfall failure in 2021 (likely caused by the prevailing La Niña) that worsened the drought impacts. Nevertheless, a drought that usually lasted for few months was not uncommon in Taiwan and seemed to occur more frequently in recent decades.
Written by Brian Hioe. Taiwan’s international climate conference participation has been subject to the same dynamics applicable to other international organisations. However, Taiwan has often been pushed out because of Chinese pressure. Namely, when the Ma administration held power, Taiwan could participate as an observer in climate change summits that it was later excluded from when the Tsai administration took office.
Written by Milo Hsieh. Recently, discussions around energy have emerged again as interest groups fight over whether it is right for the Tsai administration to install a new natural gas receiving station in Taoyuan near an algae reef habitat. Although the term “algae reef (藻礁)” became social media’s hot topic in Taiwan for a while—similar to how “Salmon” has grabbed the attention of many these past weeks—underlying energy issues have not really been discussed.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Incident. It is also likely to be a decisive moment for Taiwan’s anti-nuclear movement. Taiwan’s voters will head for a referendum on August 28 to decide whether to reactive the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP).