To enhance the response to climate change and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the draft amendment to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (GHG Management Act) prepared by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), passed the third reading at the Legislative Yuan today (January 10) and was revised as the Climate Change Response Act.
The EPA expressed its special thanks to the Legislative Yuan President You Si-Kun, Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee convening member Lai Hui-Yuan, and members of various political parties for their joint support. Externally, the Act’s passage clearly shows Taiwan’s determination to move toward the goal of net-zero emissions. Internally, the Act builds a more resilient legal foundation for climate governance. The Climate Change Response Act, which passed the third reading, consists of 7 chapters and 63 articles, the main points of which are as follows:
"2050 net-zero" is now law, establishing authority and responsibility among agencies
The amendment to Article 4 of the Act precisely incorporated “greenhouse gas net-zero emissions by 2050” into law, ensuring that net-zero emissions is no longer an announced pledge, but a legal regulation to demonstrate the nation’s determination to implement it. In the future, the periodic regulatory goals will be gradually developed based on a five-year period approach, in line with international practice.
Furthermore, since GHG reduction and climate change adaptation work involve numerous ministries and agencies, in Article 8 of the amendment, the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) of the Executive Yuan is specified as the coordinator, work delegator, and integrator of the fundamental national policy on tackling climate change. The article also stipulates NCSD’s role for coordinating inter-ministerial decisions. Moreover, the Act specifies the work authorities and responsibilities and designates the organizing and co-organizing agencies.
Incorporating just transition, leaving no one behind
Given the fact that promoting greenhouse gas reduction policies or measures may affect some communities, the amendment to the Act added that each central competent authority shall, depending on its scope of competence, consult with the communities affected by net-zero transition under the principle of respect for human rights and dignity of labor. In addition, each ministry and agency shall adopt an appropriate citizen participation mechanism to solicit public opinion, drafting and formulating the National Just Transition Action Plan (Plan). The amendment also added that the law should take into account the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, incorporating comprehensive, community-based and indigenous-based climate change adaptation policies and measures.
The amendment also strengthened the mechanism of information disclosure and citizen participation. For instance, in the formulation process of periodic regulatory goals, information such as the date, location, and format of a public hearing shall be made public online 30 days prior to the date of the event, as well as publicized through government gazettes and newspapers or other appropriate channels. Moreover, the central competent authority, municipality or county (city) governments shall compile annual result reports on GHG reduction and climate change adaptation plans, which shall be made available to the public.
Introducing carbon fee and planning diversified incentives
Promoting the implementation of carbon pricing is a key strategy to reducing carbon emissions. Thus, the amendment included a carbon fee levied on emission sources. The revenues collected shall be dedicated for the following purposes: GHG reduction work, development of low-carbon and negative emissions technology and industries, and subsidies and incentives for investment in GHG reduction technology. As such, the measures shall facilitate GHG reduction and low-carbon economic development.
The carbon fee collection target which achieves the specified goals through GHG reduction measures — including the switch to low-carbon fuel, adoption of negative emissions technology, advancement of energy efficiency, and improvement of production with the use of renewable energy — shall propose a voluntary reduction plan and are eligible to apply for discount rates upon approval. Additionally, the amendment encourages business entities to adopt voluntary reduction measures, the reduction credits obtained by which can be transferred, traded or auctioned. The amendment further included planning a diversified economic incentive mechanism as a complementary measure to support the carbon fee scheme, enabling business entities to accelerate GHG emissions reduction.
Inclusion of climate adaptation, building a resilient Taiwan
The amendment added a chapter on adaptation, so as to advance the nation’s fundamental ability to tackle climate change from the aspects of capacity building, aligning scientific research and scenario projection, and ensuring promotion framework. Meanwhile, connection between science and research is also strengthened, as the central competent authority and central science authority conduct climate change science and impact adaptation research development, publishing climate change science reports on a regular basis. With reference made from the above, governments at all levels can plan for early warning response mechanism and systematic monitoring measures.
Moreover, a climate change adaptation promotion framework will be established as follows: The central competent authority formulates the “Action Plan for Adaptation in Areas of Responsibility,” the central competent authority integrates and drafts the “National Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan,” and local governments establish the “Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan.” With the above framework, adaptation strategies are reinforced and tailored to the local context. By compiling annual accomplishment reports, publicizing of information and citizen participation procedure will be implemented.
Climate Change is a challenge faced by the global community. On Earth Day April 22, 2022, President Tsai declared that “the 2050 net-zero transition is a goal of the world, as well as a goal of Taiwan.” On the same day, at the 3748th meeting of the Executive Yuan and again at the 33rd NCSD committee meeting on August 30, 2022, Premier Su of the Executive Yuan instructed the EPA to amend the Act. The passage of this amendment signifies the administrative team’s determination to strive for a carbon-reduction policy agenda, in response to the accelerated carbon reduction trend in the international society.
After the passage of the revised Act, the EPA shall complete the regulations and related laws within six months, the regulations of which include amendments to the inventory registration procedures, management of verification service providers, carbon fee collection and rates, voluntary reduction plans, and voluntary reduction trading mechanisms. Relevant details will be discussed with all sectors at the earliest, while opinions shall be solicited from all sectors in accordance to the spirit of this amendment. Moving forward, the EPA will convene meetings to explain the relevant regulations before formulating the related laws, allowing industries to fully understand the content of the amendment and future operation plannings, which will further facilitate sustainable development as the nation embarks on the path to net-zero goals.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)