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Taiwan urges United Nations to be inclusive at COP21

Taiwan urges United Nations to be inclusive at COP21

Paris, Dec. 8 (CNA) Wei Kuo-yen, the head of Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), has urged the United Nations to be inclusive of all political entities in the fight against climate change and pursuit of carbon reduction.

Speaking at a forum Monday on the sidelines of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Wei protested that Taiwan remains excluded from the meeting as a political entity.

Taiwan, he said, has taken measures to reduce carbon emissions, including passing the progressive "Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reduction and Management Act" and putting forward Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), but remains ostracized.

"Obviously, Taiwan has disappeared from the INDC map" published on the UNFCCC website, Wei said, referring to public commitments on the reductions in emissions each country is willing to make by 2030.

"With such intentional blindness in the international community, it is ironic that one cannot see the real existence of Taiwan in the U.N.'s bright meeting rooms."

Taiwan, known officially as the Republic of China, has been excluded from U.N. organizations since it was ousted from the U.N. in 1971 and supplanted by the People's Republic of China.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has generally suppressed Taiwan's role in the international community and prevents it from participating in U.N. activities, including the Paris meeting, being held in Le Bourget in suburban Paris through Dec. 11.

Instead, Taiwan has a 50-member delegation attending COP21 activities as a non-governmental organization under the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

As part of the delegation, Wei is Taiwan's first EPA head to be present for a COP climate change meeting even if he cannot participate in any official or observer state capacity.

Speaking at one of the conference's side events, Wei said it was ironic that Taiwan has been ignored in climate change forums even as it generated more pollution.

He said Taiwan was not originally on the world map in the ranking of CO2 emitting countries, but because of the country's industrialization starting in the 1970s, it has imported more coal and oil, and CO2 emissions have increased significantly, Wei said.

"Although small, Taiwan is a major emitter in the eyes of the International Energy Agency (IEA). But in the eyes of the world, we are always seen by choice, or not seen at all," Wei said.

Taiwan's overall emissions have more or less leveled off over the past seven years despite an increase in GDP mainly as a result of improvement in energy efficiency, industrial transformation and efforts on energy conservation and carbon emissions reductions, Wei said.

If Taiwan were a party member of the UNFCCC, it would propose several points at the COP meetings, Wei said.

It would urge the world to pay attention to the impacts of global warming and sea-level rise on island countries; treat equally the "historical responsibility" and "future responsibility" of GHG emissions, and establish a fair third-party verification platform to audit GHG emissions inventories of the parties.

It would also appeal for the strengthening of functions of an international collaboration platform on technology, finance, and law, in order to complete a transition form a "carbon economy" to a "green economy," Wei said. (By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Evelyn Kao)

Updated : 2021-09-23 05:50 GMT+08:00