The EPA Hosts Net Zero Urban Action Forum during UN Climate Change Convention COP26


The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Glasgow, Scotland, pursuing net-zero as the main topic. The EPA hosted Net Zero Urban Action Forum on 6 November local time and invited Cammy Day, deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), and representatives from the six cities in Taiwan for an in-person and online discussion to allow Taiwan to connect with the world on the path to net-zero.

The EPA stated that a 2021 report published by the International Energy Agency found that more than 50% of the world's population lives in cities. Its greenhouse gas emissions account for about 70% of annual global emissions. Cities play a crucial role in achieving the net-zero goal. In order to show the efforts and achievements of the cities of Taiwan in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to demonstrate the determination of Taiwan not to be absent when facing climate change issues, the fact that this forum was held by the EPA in Glasgow during the COP26 event is particularly meaningful.

The forum was moderated by Tze-Luen Lin, Deputy Chief Executive of the Office of Energy, and Carbon Reduction of the Executive Yuan. Deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council Cammy Day and Dr. Junichi Fujino of Integrated Sustainability Center of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) were invited as keynote speakers.

Day said that the City of Edinburgh aimmed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, noting Scotland's commitment to renewable energy with its wind and other future power generations in leading positions and nearly 97% of its power supply relying on renewable energy. Also, Edinburgh has reduced carbon emissions by 66% to date.

Dr. Fujino of IGES emphasized the importance of cities to sustainable development, and he has been holding discussions recently with various Japanese cities regarding the path to net-zero emission by 2050. He also shared his experience and results in helping cities in other countries implement voluntary local reviews (VLRs).

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister Chih-Hsiu Shen said that more than 120 countries in the world had echoed the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and Taiwan has also included the net-zero emission target in the draft amendment to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act and strengthened relevant reduction countermeasures. In addition, under the overall planning of the Executive Yuan, five major work circles have been established, including "decarbonized energy," "industry and energy efficiency," "green transportation and electrification of vehicles," "carbon-negative technologies," and "governance," to conduct assessments of a net-zero emission path, plan a blueprint, and identify a climate governance path that best fits Taiwan's sustainable development.

Deputy Mayor An-Bang Gao of Taoyuan City attended the meeting in person and proposed four major strategies, including developing diversified renewable energies, industrial energy transformation, building smart cities, and improving transportation. He also shared strategies for promoting the transformation and upgrading of the ecological logistics industry.

Taipei City proposed a specific blueprint for the 2050 net-zero emission path by setting short-, medium- and long-term goals for building a 2050 zero-carbon Taipei City through four significant aspects: smart zero-carbon buildings, the introduction of renewable energy and hydrogen energy, the promotion of green transportation and low-carbon transportation, and full-circularity zero waste.

New Taipei City is introducing energy creation, energy storage, and energy-saving designs in large-scale development projects, emphasizing low-carbon and energy-saving renovation of buildings and actively building renewable energies. It has also set a goal to phase out industrial fuels by 2022 and is developing geothermal power generation to introduce zero-carbon energies.

Taichung City is actively promoting low-carbon policies; it plans to reach the target of using coal-free fuels in the entire city by 2023 by continuing to develop diversified renewable energies, low-carbon transportation, and urban cooling strategies. It is also actively promoting low-carbon sustainable education to create a sustainable, intelligent and low-carbon homeland.

Tainan City is fully promoting the construction of photovoltaics to increase the capacity of renewable energy installations and plans to reach 100% of household electricity consumption using renewable energy and to have buses completely electrified by 2030. It also aims to achieve the net-zero emission target by 2050 through strategies such as energy creation, energy conservation, circularity and sustainability.

Through cooperation between the public and private sectors, Kaohsiung City is actively reducing the city's overall carbon footprint by gradually removing coal use from the industrial sector, developing clean energy, enhancing waste recycling, creating zero-carbon communities and afforestation.

Deputy Chief Executive Tze-Luen Lin said in his conclusion that the active promotion of carbon reduction in Taiwan’s cities serves as the foundation for the country to move towards net zero. No city or country can be excluded from the pursuit of net zero. Through the forum's in-depth exchanges, the achievements of Taiwan's urban net zero transformation were presented on the international stage, showing that Taiwan is keeping up with the global trend. At the same time, by promoting healthy competition and collective advancement between cities, a good foundation can be laid for the country to promote urban net zero and move towards the vision of a sustainable and net-zero Taiwan.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, December 2021

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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