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Adjournment - Pride Parade, Taiwan, Statement of Climate Change, Taiwan

21 November 2018

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, I just wanted to take a moment on the adjournment tonight to acknowledge the heart and the spirit of our fellow island democracy Taiwan Times which has one of the most wonderful photos on the front.  This is the Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade which happened quite recently.  Nearly 140 000 from people from home and abroad marched on 27 October through the streets of Taipei in support of better protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in Taiwan to vote for equality.

Coming up in Taiwan, there are five LGBT-related referendums tied to next month's local elections.  One of the questions in the referendum, which I understand will be on 24 November, is to safeguard the rainbow, which is a vote on marriage equality.  The five referendums, three of which were initiated by anti-LGBT groups could decide whether the government will legalise same-sex marriage and whether LGBT-inclusive education will be taught in elementary and junior high schools.

This fantastic image of the Pride Parade in Taipei is inspiring.  The spirit of democracy and inclusion is alive and well in the democratic nation of Taiwan.

I want to read into Hansard a profound statement from Dr Lee Ying-yuan who is the minister for the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan.  This is the statement that he made about climate change in August 2014:

Continued growth in emissions of greenhouse gases around the world has caused abnormal and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and catastrophic torrential rains.  These events are no longer just abstract future scenarios; they are happening today in all corners of the globe.  

Average temperatures in Taiwan in the past two years have been the highest in 100 years.  Since 2017, rainfall has dropped markedly, affecting Taiwan's hydro electricity generation.  Indeed, these recent developments are having a considerable impact and pose a significant threat.

Other parts of the world have witnessed similar trends.  During the 2018 summer season, many countries across the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia, North America and North Africa have experienced record-breaking heatwaves and deadly wildfires that seriously jeopardise human health, agriculture, natural ecosystems and infrastructure.

To further implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieve the goals outlined therein, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in addition to faithfully conducting important projects, consultations and negotiations has also invited parties from various fields to join the Talanoa Dialogue, so as to take full advantage of the collective wisdom of human kind in formulating workable solutions to climate change.

As a member of the global village and in line with the Paris Agreement, Taiwan has actively encouraged all stakeholders to do their part and strengthen efforts towards reducing carbon emissions.  Taiwan has passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, under which five-year carbon reduction targets have been formulated.  Taiwan has also created the National Climate Change Action Guidelines and implemented the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan, which targets six major sectors:  energy, manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial development, agriculture and environmental management.  By setting emissions caps, promoting green finance initiatives, cultivating local talent pools and education, encouraging cooperation across central and local government agencies and across industries, and involving the general public, Taiwan seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to less than 50 per cent of 2005 levels.

I will shorten this a bit Madam Speaker, but the minister says:

Almost 90% of Taiwan's annual greenhouse gas emissions come from fuel combustion.  The government is striving to increase the share of renewable sources and overall energy generation to 20% by 2025 and raise the share of energy produced with natural gas up to 50%.

The pursuit of economic growth often comes at the expense of environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources.  According to research by the Global Footprint Network, human consumption of natural resources is outpacing the ability of the planet's ecosystems to regenerate resources by a factor of one to seven.  In fact, in 2018, Earth Overshoot Day fell on 1 August which was earlier than before.

In order to find a proper balance between economic developments and environmental protection, Taiwan is promoting the circular economy as part of the Five Plus Two Innovative Industries program.  There is a widespread international consensus that the circular economy plays a vital role in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

Taiwan has already made significant progress over the past two decades in recycling and re-using resources.  In fact, in 2017, Taiwan's resource recovery rate was 52.5%, a ratio surpassed only by Germany and Australia.

The final part of it and I am just shortening a little.  It is fantastic statement and I would love to read it all in.  The minister says:

Climate change is a matter of our planet's survival, and should not be reduced to a political issue.  Taiwan has long been unfairly disregarded by and isolated from the United Nations system.  This has not discouraged us.  On the contrary, we have doubled our efforts based on our belief in the Confucian saying that 'A man of morality will never live in solitude; he will always attract companions.'  In a professional, pragmatic and constructive manner, Taiwan will seek meaningful participation in international organisations and events and fulfil its responsibilities as a member of the international community.  Let Taiwan join the world and let the world embrace Taiwan.

Hear, hear Madam Speaker.