Written by Tsai Chia-Shen. Decades after opening to free trade, Taiwan’s food sufficiency rate has slid and maintained between 30-35% after 2003 (CoA 2020), reflecting a severe food insecurity status that has raised public concern over the quantity and quality of farmland. Although referring to other lately industrialised countries, it is prevalent that the agricultural share of GDP shrinks in the history of industrial transition, the decrease of employment in the agricultural sector still indicates the risk of losing food security, food sovereignty, and even State sovereignty.
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 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 Sung-Young Kim. Only days out from COP26 – the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference – many commentators are now preoccupied with how the rising tensions in the geopolitical environment, especially between China and the U.S, will impact global climate action. Cooperation between countries could indeed help establish a consensus on the key clean energy technologies, green investments, and carbon reduction targets to accelerate global decarbonisation efforts.
Written by Mei-Fang Fan. At the meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee in March 2018, the convener of the cabinet-level Fact-Seeking Committee and other committee members urged the government to formulate compensation regulations as soon as possible to compensate the Tao tribe. The Executive Yuan had approved guidelines for the compensation and that a fund management board that includes residents will be established. However, Tao elder anti-nuclear activists said that the Tao tribe rejects the compensation at a protest in front of the Executive Yuan on 29 November 2019.
Written by Yeh-Tang Huang. On May 13th, 2021, Taiwan was paralysed by a national blackout. For five hours, multiple regions all over the country experienced periodic power outages that lasted for as long as 50 minutes at a time. Hundreds of people got stuck in elevators. The Central Epidemic Command Centre COVID-19 press conference that was happening was forced to end early. Traffic became a mess as traffic lights stopped working. Then on May 17th, another wave of blackout swept across the country. As disruptive as these blackouts were, they are only the tip of the iceberg.
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 Tsaiying Lu. “Go Nuclear to go green.” Under this catchphrase, during Taiwan’s 2018 referendum, pro-nuclear activists have successfully framed green energy as “unstable” and “unmatured” electricity-generating technology. They proposed to abolish Section 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which states terminating all nuclear power plants by 2025, was passed with a 40.27% approval. The result is a significant setback not only to President Tsai Ing-Wen’s (2016-2024) energy policy, “Nuclear-Free Homeland by 2025,” but also to offshore wind energy’s (OWE) development.
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).
Written by Robin Winkler. In terms of biodiversity, Taiwan ranks near the top of all countries with past natural historians referring to Taiwan as “the Galapagos of Asia.” For nearly forty years of martial law, most of the general population other than fishers and soldiers were kept away from the oceans for purported security concerns. However, as the Taiwan government becomes more mature in its self-discovery, particularly during the past two and a half decades, it has rediscovered that we are an island nation.