On 21 April, the EPA-proposed draft revision of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法) was passed and sent by the Executive Yuan to the Legislative Yuan for approval. From 11-12 May 2022, the Act draft revision was completely reviewed by the Joint Committees of Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene, Economics, Finance Internal Administration, Transportation and Education and Culture in the Fifth Session of the 10th Legislative Yuan.
The revision aims to establish a climate-based legislative foundation to achieve net-zero emissions. Amendments include changing the name of the legislation to the Climate Change Response Act (氣候變遷因應法) , all of which shows equal consideration and attention to both greenhouse gas reduction as well as climate change mitigation.
Key legislative foundation for transformation to achieve zero emissions by 2050
On 30 March 2022, Taiwan announced its official blueprint for carbon reduction, the “Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050”. An essential part of the effort toward net-zero emissions under the blueprint is to strengthen the climate-related legislative foundation. The long-term national goal for carbon reduction under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act currently in place is to reduce carbon emissions to 50% of the 2005 level by the year 2050. The amendments set a new goal to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, demonstrating Taiwan’s resolve in this effort. To achieve such a goal, government entities at all levels are to work with citizens, enterprises and organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop carbon-negative technology and collaborate globally.
Increased importance of climate governance with equal focus on both carbon reduction and climate change mitigation
The revised act elevates climate-related governance to a higher official level. Henceforth, the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) will be in charge of coordinating, delegating, and integrating the national principles for climate change issues as well as relevant policies and projects across different entities, with the Premier serving as convener. Local governments are to set up agencies solely to handle climate change issues, with local mayors and magistrates as conveners to coordinate and integrate local efforts relevant to climate change. Moreover, the central competent authorities are to formulate National Climate Change Action Guidelines (國家因應氣候變遷行動綱領), set phased control targets and make National Climate Change Mitigation Action Plans (國家氣候變遷調適行動計畫). Central competent authorities for industry are to determine action plans for the sectors or fields under their supervision. Meanwhile, local governments are to formulate or amend implementation measures. The efforts of these three government levels are also required to establish review mechanisms and have citizens participate. Also, in an effort to adapt to impacts of climate change and establish a resilient system, the amendments aim to increase mitigation capacities by keeping up to date with climate change science and risk assessment so as to better promote relevant mitigation work.
Expedited carbon reduction to enhance the global competitive edge of industries
Under this revision, relevant investigations and audits are to be managed by category in order to help industries examine their carbon emissions and increase auditing capacities. The goal is to comply with requirements concerning information on carbon emissions of supply chains. Efficiency standards are newly added for industries to follow in order to lower carbon emissions from production processes and thus enhance their competitive edge. For vehicle manufacturers and importers as well as structures and facilities of new buildings, there are also new emission standards and regulations for reducing emissions. Newly set or modified emission sources up to a certain scale are mandated to reduce their environmental impacts via offsets based on a percentage of the increased emissions they bring. Additionally, the revised act strives to stabilize carbon trading in line with the trend of carbon pricing. Enterprises and governments of all levels, either on their own or with others, are to propose voluntary reduction programs to carry out reduction measures accordingly. It will allow emitters to acquire reduction quotas and manage the uses, transfers, and trades concerning these quotas. Besides the above, relevant regulations are set to keep up with the world’s ongoing development of post-carbon capture utilization and storage technologies. The goal is to help develop carbon-negative technologies, whilst managing factors that have an impact on the environment.
Collection of carbon fees for specific uses
Carbon pricing encourages emission reduction through economic incentives and is therefore widely recognized as one of the important reduction strategies. The revised act sets up a system to collect carbon fees from domestic emission sources, which are then solely used to assist, subsidize, and reward carbon reduction endeavors and conduct relevant technological research that will facilitate reduction efforts and develop a low-carbon economy. As for the global economy and trade, with careful assessment Taiwan will launch a carbon border adjustment mechanism on imported goods if necessary. Enterprises importing products listed under control are required to register the amount of carbon emissions associated with such imports and trade reduction quotas based on differences of emissions.
Public participation to build momentum for emission reduction
Climate change issues span numerous fields and cannot be appropriately addressed without everyone’s participation. The revised act strengthens information disclosure and expands public participation mechanisms, mandating governments of all levels to invite all stakeholders when formulating programs or plans concerning carbon reduction or climate change response. Then implementation results are to be disclosed. These programs and plans are also required to integrate comprehensive, community-based mitigation policies and measures. Meanwhile, the management mechanism and labeling system for product carbon footprints are strengthened to extend responsibilities of producers, motivating enterprises to produce and encouraging people to choose low-carbon products. Furthermore, the revised act enhances systems for nurturing needed talents and to develop relevant technologies, as well as introduces just transition into reduction and mitigation work.
The Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee and other committees in the Legislative Yuan have finished the preliminary review of the Climate Change Response Act, which will enter the following legislative stage. Besides continuing the implementation of the Act, the EPA will begin formulating other sub-laws in order to complete the climate-related legislative foundation for the goal of net-zero emission
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, May 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)