Members Support Slips as UNFCCC Rejects Taiwan’s Application for Participation

November 9, 2019 Updated: November 9, 2019

News Analysis

While losing support for its mission from its member nations, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has continuously rejected Taiwan’s application for participation.

Governments around the world planned to meet for the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the UNFCCC between Dec. 2 and 9 in Santiago, Chile. The purpose of the summit is to discuss the member countries’ government efforts to continue their commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

However, COP25 changed the summit location at the last minute to Madrid, Spain, because Chile withdrew as the host of the summit due to violent unrest in the country.

Critics have attributed the riots in the country to expensive climate policies, such as the Chilean government’s new carbon dioxide taxes. In many ways, the reasons for the ongoing protests are similar to the reasons behind France’s Yellow Vest protests. The Chilean protesters have sent a clear message to COP25 and the UNFCCC.

On Nov. 4, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States had formally begun the process of pulling out of the Paris Agreement, following President Donald Trump’s decision to cease all participation in the 2015 agreement.

Trump’s decision was made public on June 1, 2017, but the earliest possible date that any country can withdraw from the Agreement is Nov. 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement went into effect.

However, the UNFCCC’s decrease in popularity did not stop the organization from denying Taiwan the chance to participate in COP25.

COP25 will very likely yield to political pressure from Beijing and exclude Taiwan again. According to information The Epoch Times received from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco (TECOSF), Taiwan has been denied the opportunity to submit its Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC.

“As Taiwan is not a party to the convention, the country is shut out of official activities, mechanisms and meetings,” Taiwan Today reported.

With a population close to 24 million, Taiwan was the world’s 21st largest economy in 2019 as ranked by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While societies in Chile and France may worry that the cost of living will be impacted by the UNFCCC’s climate policies, the island nation of Taiwan has been reaching out to the UNFCCC and expressing its willingness to help.

Taiwan’s government is seeking the opportunity to participate in global mechanisms, negotiations, and activities that promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement in the same way as any other country, according to TECOSF.

In the past, Taiwan has sent some of its nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to attend UNFCCC events with observer status. But Taiwan’s government agencies have not been able to participate in UNFCCC events.

“Exclusion from the UNFCCC is unfair and incompatible with its call for extensive cooperation across the world on environmental issues,” said Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Minister Chang Tzi-chin, according to Taiwan Today.

Being excluded from UNFCCC events has limited the capacity of Taiwan’s society for sharing information and making contributions to programs such as ecological management, disaster prevention and early warning systems, and energy-efficient technology.

Taiwan, as an island nation, has accumulated abundant experience dealing with extreme weather events and natural disasters. According to TECOSF, Taiwanese government entities have a great willingness to share their technology, financial resources, and experience with the world.

TECOSF stated, “It is neither appropriate nor effective to restrain Taiwan’s [government agencies’] participation in the UNFCCC by extending invitations via the very limited quota of NGO participants.”

The UNFCCC has been facing uphill battles in recent years, from its global operations to its basic concepts. The UNFCCC’s objective to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere” has been increasingly criticized by scientists and researchers.

Global warming skepticism has gained more ground among scientists in recent years.

James Taylor, a senior fellow for environment and energy policy at Heartland Institute, told The Epoch Times that scientists are in consensus about the warmer climate of the earth and the greenhouse gas causing higher temperatures, but they have never been in consensus about climate crisis.

Heartland Institute is an Illinois-based free-market think tank that leads global warming skepticism.

Taylor said the earth has been warmer or colder many times during human civilization. He said that for most of the past 6,000 to 8,000 years, the earth’s temperatures were much warmer than they are today.

While UNFCCC supporters urge governments around the world to make huge investments in order to reduce greenhouse gas, some recent scientific studies have shown that carbon dioxide (CO2) has huge benefits to global food security. More than 80 percent of the greenhouse gas in question is CO2.

“Carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is created when fossil fuels are converted into energy, has proved to be a powerful plant food,” stated a recent research paper published by the CO2 Coalition.

The CO2 Coalition is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with the mission to educate thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution carbon dioxide makes to human lives and the economy.

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