While most people are focusing on whether the UN’s COP21 meeting, which will be held from November 30th to December 11th, will be able to reach a legally binding 2015 agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, few people are aware that Taiwan has passed a landmark Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act to cut carbon emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050, making Taiwan one of the few countries to write its target into domestic law. What an achievement for Taiwan’s contribution to tackling climate change! And what a shame that Taiwan currently is only an NGO observer of the UNFCCC!

Even though Taiwan, a democratic and peace-loving country and the world’s 22nd biggest economy, has been excluded from the UNFCCC since 1971, it still has been dedicated to addressing global climate change. In response to the Lima Call for Climate Action, Taiwan announced its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) in September this year, committing itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from the current business-as-usual level by 2030.

Moreover, Taiwan has been helping many developing countries in a wide variety of areas relating to climate change. These include food and energy security, renewable energy, green technology, LED street lighting, natural disaster management and environmental protection.

The 23 million people of Taiwan have the right, the ability, and the willingness to contribute to maintaining a planet where humans can live sustainably. The need to address climate change as one single human family is emphatic, and all nations should accommodate Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UNFCCC.

Louis Huang

director-general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office