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.
Taiwan-UK Offshore Wind Cooperation Successes Should be Big News at COP26
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.
Climate Change, COP26, and Challenges for Taiwan
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.
It’s Not All About China and the U.S at COP26: Taiwan’s Greening Strategy as a Model for the Developed Democracies
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.
Is Taiwan Ready to Go Net-Zero by 2050?
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.
Covid-19 and the Environmental Impacts of Domestic Tourism
Written by Tzu-Ming Liu. The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly affected Taiwanese’ travel destination choices. One of the most significant changes is the recent boom of citizens’ participation in nature-based outdoor recreation. These changes have clear influences on the environment. Some are positive, and some are negative. This impact can be observed in Taroko National Park and Yushan National Park. However, for destinations that have been heavily impacted by tourism, such as Lanyu, the sudden tourist increase makes environmental problems much worse.
Tao People’s Fight for Environmental Justice and Subjectivity on Orchid Island
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.
A Geothermal Solution to the Problems and Risks in Taiwan’s Electricity System
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.
The Good, the Bad and the Adaptive: Resilient Local Solutions to Tourism-Related System Shifts in Eastern Rural Taiwan
Written by Paulina G. Karimova and Kuang-Chung Lee. Discussion of resilience and adaptive capacity of Taiwan’s scenic rural areas has never been more pertinent than at the times of COVID-19. Over 2020-2021, these two seemingly academic terms have promptly secured their spot in local vocabulary (as 韌性 and 調適能力) and became an intrinsic part of hands-on local solutions.
How to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint as a Tourist in Taiwan
Written by Viola van Onselen. Tourism can significantly burden the natural environment, such as developing hotels or campsites in fragile ecosystems, pollution, or noise disturbance. The fact that tourism leads to environmental degradation has led to sustainable or eco-tourism, a concept that aims to minimise the impact on the natural environment and maintain tourism over a long period in one area while educating tourists and benefitting the social, economic and natural environment.
Mountain Hiking as Taiwan’s New National Pastime
Written by Ming-sho Ho. Sitting right at the fracture zone between Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate, Taiwan is an outgrowth of their incessant continental collision, thus making this island mountainous and ecologically rich. The Japanese archipelago shares a similar geological location. Still, Taiwan has ten times more peaks over 3,000 meters above sea level (268) than Japan, although the land size is only the latter’s one-tenth. From the tropical fluvial plain, one can drive through the temperate-zone mountain and reach the highest point of Taiwan’s highway (3,275 meters) in few hours, where flora and fauna are analogous to that in the frigid zone. Yet, until recently, most of the island residents did not have the opportunity to enjoy this natural heritage.
Taiwan’s Perfect Storm: Covid Spikes, Water Shortages, and Power Outages
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.