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Taiwan reiterates commitment to combating climate change

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Nov 8: Before the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take place next month, Taiwan has reiterates its commitment to combating climate change with the international community, according to Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC).

The COP25 will incorporate the second meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP21 in France in 2015 to deal with adaptation, mitigation and financing policies against greenhouse gasses, the TECC said.

Quoting the World Meteorological Organization’s data showing June 2019 was the hottest month in history, breaking temperature records from New Delhi to the North Pole, the TECC said an island state like Taiwan has strongly felt the pain of climate change and its 23 million people care deeply about the environment.

It said that as the world’s 22nd largest economy, Taiwan has the responsibility to join the global strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, Taiwan passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act in June 2015, which set out a series of five-year regulatory carbon reduction targets designed to lower Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050, the TECC said.

It said that at the joint endeavor of the government’s agricultural, manufacturing, residential-commercial and transportation agencies, the increase of carbon emissions from traditional energy sources in Taiwan has also slowed to an average of 0.1 percent rise over the past decade, outperforming Singapore’s 1.6 percent and South Korea’s 2.3 percent, according to Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

The TECC confirms, although Taiwan is not a party to the UNFCCC, Taiwan will again send a delegation comprising representatives from the country’s public and private sectors, academic institutes, enterprises as well as non-governmental organizations to the COP25 event. In the meantime, Taiwan calls on all stakeholders to take action in reducing carbon emissionsand providing support to developing countries in particular.

Taiwan has been an active partner to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, the TECC emphasized. In Central America, for example, Taiwan has cooperated with local governments in implementing projects in use of geographic information systems and global positioning systems. These projects, through the reporting of land use changes and timely detection of earthquakes and landslides, have helped such countries as Belize and Honduras to strengthen nationwide environmental monitoring and disaster early warning.

In the Pacific, for another example, Taiwan has established a wide range of multilateral cooperation projects to promote green technologies and improve energy efficiency, such as the Home Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project in the Marshall Islands. This substantial climate change mitigation project has helped the 75,000-people Pacific island state reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 992 tons annually, the TECC said.

In green finance and technological innovation, Taiwan has contributed US $ 80 million to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Green Energy Special Fund, which has been utilized to co-finance EBRD investment projects that incorporate green energy components such as LED street lights, smart meters, solar-powered technologies and public transportation and electric systems to be built in Eastern Europe and the Middle East countries.

Taiwan’s commitment to standing with the international community to fight climate change is further evidenced by its adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and publication in September 2017 of the Voluntary National Review on their implementation, the TECC said.

The TECC said Taiwan’s economic development and familiarity with environmental management issues makeits experience to cope with climate change extremely valuable to other island states and developing nations facing similar challenges. “Taiwan is ready, able and willing to share its knowledge and experience with other countries,” EPA Minister Chang Tzi-chin said. “No one should be left behind in this fight,” the Minister said.

US launches formal process to quit Paris climate accord

WASHINGTON, Nov 5: The United States notified the United Nations on Monday of its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, launching a formal process that will culminate in its exit exactly a year from now.

The United States can rejoin the accord should President Donald Trump change his mind, or is replaced by any of the Democrats running to defeat him in 2020. They all support the agreement, the signing of which in 2016 was spearheaded by President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat.

“We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement in which he announced the start of the formal withdrawal process.

The US will be out of the accord on November 4, 2020, after a mandatory waiting period of a year according to rules, and become the only country to leave the agreement that has been signed by 196 countries and the European Union.

Trump had announced his decision to pull the US out of the deal in June 2017, saying it placed an unfair economic burden on the US. He had also alleged, wrongly, that the accord favoured India and China and that India had demanded, and was granted, billions of dollars to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

The US president ad wanted to re-negotiate the agreement but all principal signatories, such as India, China and France, decided to move on with what they had, with or without the US.

Trump, who is a climate change skeptic (once said it was a hoax sprung by the Chinese to slow down the US economy), has since rolled back multiple measures initiated by President Obama to enable the US, which is the world’s second largest polluter, to meet its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), as the country-specific targets fixed by countries themselves are called.

The US had pledged to cut its emissions by between 26 and 28% in 2025 from the 2005-level. Due to the current polices in place, it is likely to cut emissions only by 13% to 15%, according to Climate Action Tracker, an independent analysis that tracks progress by countries on the stated goal of the Paris accord to hold global warming below 2 degree Celsius.

“Donald Trump has signed away our future,” Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee about the launch of the formal withdrawal process. “Democrats believe we must take bold action to combat climate change. That’s what President Obama was doing when he signed the Paris Accord, and that’s what Democrats will keep doing every day – showing America and Donald Trump what true leadership looks like.”

Spain to host UN Climate Change conference from Dec 2 after Chile backs out

By Deepak Arora

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5: The Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has accepted the proposal from the Government of Chile to hold the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. The COP25 would be held from December 2 to 13 in Feria de Madrid (IFEMA).

The announcement was made by UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. This has been made possible by the generous offer by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain.

Spain had offered to host COP25 in Madrid on the same dates as the original schedule after Chile decided to pull out from hosting the event due to the ongoing national unrest against the Government of Chile.

Chile had informed its decision of not hosting the COP25 event in the view of the unrest in the country to UNFCCC on October 30. In an official statement, President of Chile Sebastian Pinera said that the decision had caused him pain but his government was required to prioritize re-establishing law and order in the nation.

The conference will take place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the Government of Spain. The President-designate for the conference is Ms. Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment of Chile.

Chile withdrew from hosting two major international events- COP 25 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit due to ongoing anti-governmental protests in the nation.

An emergency has been declared in Chile, after hundreds of people took to the roads to demand the resignation of President Sebastian Pinera after the government announced a 30 percent increase in Metro fares in October 2019.

Though the Government of Chile in remedial measure announced a 20 percent increase in the basic pension of the citizens and allowed free electricity and some subsidies in the medical sector, the public was not satisfied. The citizens in Chile have already been reeling under the pressure of inflation.

The citizens have been demanding economic reforms and a new government.

What is COP25? COP25 means the 25th Conference of the Parties on climate change. The 2019 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) will be 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Brazil was the initial host of COP25 but the newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro decided to withdraw from hosting the event due to economic reasons. Then Chile offered to host but had to withdraw due to national unrest. Spain offered to host after Chile backed out.

The key events of the conference will include:

• The 25th Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC

• The 15th meeting of parties for the Kyoto Protocol (CMP15)

• The second meeting of parties for the Paris Agreement (CMA2)


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