When Net Zero Emissions Meets International Aid

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP26) was originally scheduled to be held in 2020, but was postponed to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Glasgow Climate Pact was passed after negotiations between the parties. Even though the language used for carbon reduction and subsidies for the replacement of fossil fuels was somewhat weakened due to pushes from China and India, it is still the first UN climate agreement that mentions fossil fuels.

Taiwan was not absent during the high-profile climate summit. A delegation formed by representatives of industry, government, academia, and research institutes, as well as citizens’ groups, participated in numerous side events. We also organized a Taiwan Day event to promote the efforts and contributions of Taiwan in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, Taiwan has assisted its diplomatic allies and friendly countries in projects to improve their capacity to adapt to and resist climate change through green financing, renewable energy, and remote sensing in recent years. Hence, this issue will discuss the significance of net zero carbon emissions, carbon neutrality, and green energy transition to international development and cooperation, as well as the lessons learned from Taiwan’s foreign aid, under the theme “Carbon Neutrality and International Cooperation.”

First, the article “Implications, Trends, and Discourse on Climate Policy for Net Zero Emissions” by Professor Tze-Luen Lin from the Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University clearly lays out the course to net zero emissions, and summarizes arguments of different actors relating to net zero emissions. At the end of the article, Professor Lin pointed out the key role of international cooperation in achieving global net zero emissions, and believes that international cooperation will encourage responsibility sharing to achieve net zero emissions.

Paris Agreement Article 6 Rulebook was approved during COP26 this year, reaching a consensus on the mechanisms and methods for implementing an international carbon trading market. Hence, Professor Chien-Te Fan of the Institute of Law for Science and Technology, National Tsing Hua University was invited to write the article “The Meaning of Mechanisms in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to International Development and Cooperation Projects” for this issue. The article describes the mechanisms in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement in detail, and provides recommendations for how to use the mechanisms to improve the carbon reduction benefits brought by Taiwan’s international cooperation projects.

The article “Role of Pacific Island States in International Climate Development Issues: From the Perspective of Climate Services” written by Camyale Chao, Executive Director of the International Climate Development Institute (ICDI), focuses on carbon reduction issues in Pacific island states.

Island states are far more severely impacted by the climate change, and therefore constantly call on other countries to take climate change seriously during international events. In the article, Executive Director Camyale Chao mentions that Taiwan has already built a considerable foundation working with many island states, and should further expand cooperation opportunities with island states in climate issues on this basis, in order to leverage the benefits of international aid.

Countries across the world are setting goals to achieve net zero emissions. Besides using policies and technologies, green finance is also an important tool used to mitigate global warming. This issue specially invited Professor Pai-Ta Shih of the Department of Finance, National Taiwan University and Professor Wei-Che Tsai of the Department of Finance, National Sun Yat-sen University to write the article “Developing the Green Energy Center of the Asia Pacific, Accelerating the Green Transformation of Enterprises", which summarizes Taiwan’s green transformation process, and also introduces the role of green finance in sustainable transformation.

The “Research Topics" segment of this issue includes the article “A Study on Long-term Overseas Volunteers’ Knowledge, Skills, and Key Attitude Towards Services: In the Case of the TaiwanICDF Overseas Volunteers Program" submitted by Assistant Professor Hsin-Hsueh Wen of the Graduate Institute of Social Work, National Taiwan Normal University, and colleagues of the TaiwanICDF. The article summarizes the knowledge, skills, and attitude required by long-term overseas volunteers through interviews with 25 overseas volunteers in the TaiwanICDF Overseas Volunteers Program. The article provides complete information for readers who are interested in becoming volunteers or researching issues related to volunteering.

As the pandemic has subsided, Taiwan sent a delegation to the annual global climate summit – COP26 in Glasgow this year. Hence, the special report of this issue interviews Alex L.J. Shyy, Deputy Secretary General of the TaiwanICDF, Ming-Shan Jeng, Deputy Director of the Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories (GEL), Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), and Sophia Cheng, Chief Investment Officer of Cathay Financial Holdings under the topic “Taiwan should not fall behind, nor should it be left behind in the response to climate change". The interviewees were asked to share their first-hand experiences in the event, and also analyze the conference’s importance to the fight against climate change based on their own expertises.

Many economic activities and in-person meetings around the world have been halted due to the pandemic over the past 2 years, but climate change has not stopped, and the constant flooding and droughts due to extreme weather have affected the lives of people across the world. Facing such a backlash from nature, countries are not only setting carbon reduction goals for themselves, but are also assisting other countries in combating climate change through foreign aids. Taiwan naturally cannot be absent in this process, and the discussions between scholars and experts in this issue might be able to open up a new path for Taiwan’s foreign aid for the environment in the future.

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