Change and Continuities: Taiwan’s Post-2008 Environmental Policies

Simona A. Grano


In representative governments, a healthy turnover of power among ruling parties is viewed as a critical sign of democratic principles. In a political environment where voters’ opinion is the key political driver, the greatest challenge facing the NGO community is often that environmental concerns only represent secondary aspects of the policy-making process. This article focuses on the transformations (or lack thereof) in Taiwan’s environmental governance, under different political parties, particularly during the past few years. I begin with an overview of the key issues that have characterised Taiwan’s environmental movement and its battles, starting with the democratic transition of the mid-1980s, before focusing on two developmental projects – Taiwan’s eighth petrochemical plant and fourth nuclear power facility – to bring to light the most significant changes and continuities in the environmental-policy realm. I pay special attention to the post-2008 period and the ensuing renaissance experienced by the environmental movement, among others. The final section considers the consequences of the KMT’s second elect-oral victory – in January 2012 – for environmental policies and, in light of the article’s findings, summarises what has changed and what has consistently remained the same under different ruling parties.

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