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 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 Ti-han Chang. At the crossroad of the 21st century, we see the rise of a new transition in Taiwanese literature. In the era of anthropogenic climate change, environmental literature or ecocriticism, which was first established in the Anglophone literature begins to sow its seeds in Taiwan in the late 80s and early 90s. Alongside this new transition, aboriginal literature in Taiwan also underwent a phase of cultural renaissance in the same period. Work published by Syaman Rapongan 夏曼藍波安, Walis Nokan瓦歷斯諾幹, and Topas Tamapima 拓拔斯塔瑪匹瑪 (田雅各) enrich and diversify the literary scene in Taiwan. The work of Rapongan, which promotes sea-writing and oceanic cultural imaginary, deserves, especially our attention.
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 Natasha Heller. Rising global temperature increases and predictions about sea levels can be abstract, even for adults. How can the phenomena of global warming be visualized? How can climate change and environmental degradation be made understandable by young children? The earth’s round shape, as imagined from space, lends itself to the addition of eyes and a mouth to convey unhappiness or illness on a global level. Distressed or lonely polar bears also convey the negative effects of global warming but are still quite distant from most children’s everyday lives.
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).
Written by Ma’ili Yee. A year after losing two of its Pacific Island allies, Taiwan continues to feel the mounting pressure of Chinese influence in the South-Pacific ocean. Within recent years, China has pointedly increased its presence in the Pacific through financial aid, commercial trade, and high-level diplomatic engagement. The four Pacific states of Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau now compose nearly a third of the remaining countries that officially recognize the ROC. Despite their small geographic and economic size, Taiwan would be wise to recognize these Pacific island nations’ immense political weight and properly address their top concerns—sustainable development and climate change—through concerted foreign policy.