The International Legal Concerns on Climate Change Regime: Taiwan's Perspective

Author:Yiyuan Su
Position:Assistant Professor of International Law at National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan. LL.B. (Soochow), M.B.A. (Tamkang), LL.M./S.J.D. (American Univ.).
Pages:63-79
SUMMARY

Climate change is an emerging environmental issue. To prevent possible trade sanctions from the industrialized trading partners, Taiwan proposed several policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This includes their preparation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is under legislature review and the Statute for Renewable Energy Management. Because Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations,... (see full summary)

 
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The International Legal
Concerns on Climate
Change Regime: Taiwan
s
Perspective
Yiyuan Su
Climate change is an emerging environmental issue. To prevent possible trade
sanctions from the industrialized trading partners, Taiwan proposed several policies
to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This includes their preparation of the
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is under legislature review and the Statute for
Renewable Energy Management. Because Taiwan is not a member of the United
Nations, it is excluded from participation in the United Nation Convention on
Climate Change and lacks access to the flexible mechanisms defined under the Kyoto
Protocol. The Taiwan Environment Protection Administration plans to encourage
the local emitters to acquire foreign reduction credits to offset domestic emissions.
This article approaches Taiwan
s mitigation policies and measures from an
international legal perspective. It also introduces adaptation policies and
recommends that the government establish a special national adaptation team to
prepare data and criteria for risk prioritization. Finally, this paper recommends that
the Parties of the UNFCCC adopt the
universal apply
principle for climate change
and allow any governmental agency whose governing matters are covered by the
convention, to participate and share emission-reduction responsibilities.
Keywords
Climate Change, Taiwan, EPA, Mitigation, Adaptation, UNFCCC, Flexible
Mechanisms
KFBJM2)3122*  63
* Assistant Professor of International Law at National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan. LL.B. (Soochow), M.B.A.
(Tamkang), LL.M./S.J.D. (American Univ.). The National Science Council (NSC) of the Executive Yuan of the
Republic of China supports this article (project number: NSC100-3113-P-007-001). The author may be contacted at:
su.yiyuan@gmail.com or suyiyuan@nchu.edu.tw / Address: 250 Kuo-Kuang Rd., Taichung 402, Taiwan R.O.C.
I. Introduction
Climate change is one of the biggest environmental concerns in the 21
st
century. The
global greenhouse effect caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
into the atmosphere has led to rising global temperatures, endangering the climate
system. The international community is trying to stabilize global GHG emissions
through cooperation from multiple sectors, information sharing on the reduction of
GHG emissions with stakeholders, and the prevention of adverse effects caused by
climate change.
1
As the 17
th
leading merchandise exporter among the World Trade
Organization (WTO) members,
2
Taiwan also produces 1% of all global greenhouse
gas emissions.
3
Although Taiwan is neither a member of the United Nations, nor United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is still aligning its
national policies and measures on carbon dioxide emission reduction rates with the UN
guidelines. By complying with UN and UNFCCC policies and measures, and following
GHG emission reduction rates according to the Kyoto protocol, Taiwan could be
protected from low carbon regulations imposed by its trading partners in the European
Union or the United States.
In accordance with the natural disaster hotspot project of the World Bank in 2005,
Taiwan is a probable location for multiple natural disasters.
4
Climate change might
furthermore intensify the strength and frequency of natural disasters increasing the
damage to Taiwan. Early preparations are crucial to the reduction of adverse
consequences including human loss caused by climate change. The cost of mitigating
and adapting to the effects of climate change is still high, because of its unique
international legal status; Taiwan is unable to request any scientific or financial
assistance from international organizations and UNFCCC.
5
Taiwan is thus forced to
independently use its internal efforts and funds to develop climate-related policies and
measures and increase capacities.
6
This puts Taiwan in an unfair and unequal position
64 
1United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change art. 2 (Mar. 21, 1994), U.N. Doc. A/AC.237/18 (Part II)/
Add.1,
reprinted in
31 I.L.M 848 (1992).
2WTO, I
NTERNATIONAL
T
RADE
S
TATISTICS
2010 13 (2010),
available at
http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/
its2010_e/its2010_e.pdf (last visited on May 5, 2011).
3Shu-Hung Shen,
Taiwans Climate Change Mitigation
, T
HE
K
OREA
T
IMES
, Nov. 26, 2009,
available at
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2011/01/198_56189.html (last visited on May 5, 2011).
4W
ORLD
B
ANK,
N
ATURE
D
ISASTER
H
OTSPOTS
: A G
LOBAL
R
ISK
A
NALYSIS
2 (2005).
5Yiyuan (William) Su,
The Effects of the Kyoto Protocol on Taiwan
, 6 S
USTAINABLE
D
EV
. L. & P
OL
Y
51, 51 (2006).
6The Republic of China (Taiwan) has withdrawn its representation of China from United Nations since 1971.
See
G. A.
Res. 2758, at 2, U.N. GAOR, 26th Sess., Supp. No. 29, U.N. Doc. A/8429 (Oct. 25, 1971),
available at
http://daccess-
dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/327/74/IMG/NR032774.pdf?OpenElement (last visited on May 5,

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