Climate change is a significant challenge faced by the whole world. Having promulgated the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法) in 2015, Taiwan is one of the few countries that include long-term reduction goals in its official legislation. Seeing the grave conditions of global climate change, the EPA aims to speed up Taiwan’s carbon emission reduction efforts and strengthen mitigation by drafting amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act. Revisions will also include a change of name to the Climate Change Response Act (氣候變遷因應法). Other points in the revisions are as follows:
2050 zero-emission goal included in legislation
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act currently specifies that the national long-term reduction goal is to, by 2050, lower carbon emissions to 50% of the amount emitted in 2005. The revisions will change the target to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is a declaration of Taiwan's determination. To achieve such a goal, government authorities of all levels should collaborate with every citizen, enterprise, and organization to jointly facilitate emission reduction, develop negative emission technology, and promote global cooperation.
Strengthening climate management by appointing higher-level authorities in charge
Responsibilities of greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation span different departments. Therefore, the Executive Yuan's National Sustainable Development Network (NSDN) is designated under the revisions as the central authority in charge. The NSDN will be responsible for coordinating, delegating, or integrating policies related to national climate change response principles and cross-departmental work. In addition, competent central authorities are also to integrate the action plans of different departments and formulate national reduction programs, while local governments are to set up climate response committees and focus on coordinating and integrating response work.
Adding chapters specifically for climate change mitigation
The particular chapter on mitigation has three focuses: establishing essential capacities; connecting scientific research, projections, and predictions, and; determining frameworks. The first focus is to enhance Taiwan’s overall essential capacities in responding to climate change. The government should build up mitigation capacities and enhance the participation of citizens, businesses, and organizations in the pursuit of mutual goals. The second focus is to strengthen links among scientific researchers, whereby central competent authorities for technology will compile and integrate climate change science, scenarios, and risk information and regularly publish relevant reports. Government departments of all levels are then to conduct risk assessments concerning climate change, to serve as references for implementing mitigation actions. Lastly, the third focus is to finalize legal and policy frameworks for climate change mitigation. Central industry competent authorities are to formulate mitigation action plans for respective areas of responsibility, which central authorities will integrate and use to formulate national climate change mitigation and adaptation action plans. Climate change mitigation implementation programs will then be formulated by local governments based on circumstances in different regions. Information disclosure and public participation throughout all procedures will be achieved through editing and publishing annual reports on the outcomes of implementation.
Enhancing emission controls and incentive mechanisms to facilitate carbon reduction
Enhancing energy efficiency is a critical strategy toward zero-emissions. Control mechanisms for emissions in different sectors, such as manufacturing, transportation, and construction, will be revised to elevate energy efficiency and lower emission intensity. Newly established pollution sources are mandated to adopt the best available technology and obtain offsets to reduce overall environmental impacts from increased emissions. Moreover, efforts will be enhanced to urge enterprises or government authorities of all levels to develop their own voluntary reduction proposals while incentives such as offering offset quotas are to be provided to those adopting reduction practices. The aim is to increase reduction efforts from both production and consumption.
Collecting carbon fees specifically for reduction-related uses
Carbon pricing helps facilitate emission reduction via economic incentives and is one of the effective reduction strategies recognized around the world. To improve Taiwan's carbon pricing system, one new addition in the legislative revisions specifically deals with carbon fees, which will be collected from domestic emission sources and then be used solely for: carbon reduction; developing low-carbon and negative-emitting technology and industries; and subsidizing rewarding investments in emission reduction technologies. This will help facilitate greenhouse gas reduction as well as the development of a low-energy economy. Currently, there is also a global trend towards developing carbon border adjustment mechanisms to avoid carbon leakage, a new type of measure. By setting up methods to calculate and determine the carbon content of specific products, central authorities can help Taiwan's industries keep their global competitive edge.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, October 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)