Let Taiwan into UNFCCC, says Solomon Islands

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Solomon Star Newspaper, Katowice, Poland

The Solomon Islands has called on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to allow Taiwan to participate in the collective action to reduce global emissions.

Dr. Melchior Mataki, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology, made the call when delivering the Solomon’s statement at the high-level segment of COP24 in Katowice, Poland, on Dec. 12.

He said the IPCC special report on 1.5 °C stressed the importance of collective action to reduce emissions.

“We urge all countries to maximize climate action, and the global community as a whole should be part of the solution," said Mataki, who is also the head of the Solomon Islands delegation to the COP24.

“In this connection, the Solomon Islands supports the meaningful participation of the Republic of China’s (Taiwan) in the UNFCCC processes."

The assistant Minister for Environment added that “below 1.5°C to stay alive” remains a relevant call, and the IPCC 1.5 Special Report has provided the scientific basis of that call.

“We can negotiate with each other, but we cannot negotiate with mother earth, let us ratchet up ambition to save planet earth and humanity,” he said, referring to the global negotiations to keep global temperature rise well below 1.5°C.

Last month, Britain stated its support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations where it can make a valuable contribution to issues of global concern, including those relating to climate change.

The remarks follow statements by U.K. officials affirming Taiwan’s efforts to advance climate solutions and take a role in tackling the global challenge. This was welcomed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ROC (Taiwan) in early December.

In an exclusive interview this week, Acting Minister of Environmental Administration, Mr. Tsai Hung-Teh, said Taiwan is committed to working with countries that have the same interest in addressing this issue and seeking support for the nation’s meaningful engagement in the UNFCCC.

“We have a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Management Act, which sets a target of reducing emissions to 50 percent of the 2005 level by 2050," he said.

“From this Act we have formulated our roadmap for each year. So the roadmap for 2020 is to reduce emissions by 2 percent, 10 percent for 2025, and also 20 percent by the end of 2030,” the acting minister said.

Meanwhile, it was Taiwan’s hope that the international community recognized the considerable effort it has put into drawing up policies to cope with climate change, and will therefore take concrete steps to support the ROC Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA’s) attendance at future COP events as an observer in a governmental capacity.

This will allow Taiwan to contribute more effectively to the international community in such areas as climate change mitigation and carbon reduction. According to the EPA, Taiwan is ready and willing to assist other countries in crafting climate change mitigation strategies.

It is common knowledge that Taiwan’s exclusion from the UNFCCC contradicts the spirit of the organization and the Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP21 in 2015.

Though Taiwan is not a member of the UNFCCC, it has branded trains in Katowice with the slogan, "Combating Climate Change - Taiwan Can Help."