On 4 April 2022, the Working Group III of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released its 6th Assessment Report (AR6). It states that the world should immediately undergo profound emission reduction to limit global warming to 1.5°C as well as proposes strategies and prospects for major emission reduction by 2050. On 30 March, the EPA, the National Development Council, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and relevant agencies announced the “Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050”, whose 12 critical strategic plans align with the IPCC’s AR6. The EPA will use the plan as a basis for launching social dialogues in its next stage of policy formulation.
The IPCC’s Working Group I released the report, “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis”, on 9 August 2021, and its Working Group II released the report “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”, on 28 February 2022. Then the next report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, came out on 4 April 2022. It points out that the decade from 2010 to 2019 had the highest accumulated emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Only with immediate and deep carbon reduction can humans achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Changes in societal and economic behaviors are a feasible way to ensure reduction of global carbon emissions in the future. The following are report excerpts that cover revolutionary measures in all aspects that will lead to emission reduction:
1. The energy sector has to go through active transformation by lowering use of fossil fuels, developing and applying negative-carbon technologies, widely carrying out measures to achieve electric-motorization, enhancing energy efficiency, and utilizing alternative fuels like hydrogen energy and sustainable biofuels. For the industrial sector, the key lies in the more efficient, applied, and circular use of materials with minimal waste generation. Still, the goal to achieve net-zero emission poses considerable challenges.
2. Transformations in energy and resource use are a necessary part of changes to people’s daily routines, such as switching to walking, cycling, electric-motorized transportation, less air travel, and adaptable residences. On strategies concerning cities and urban areas, sustainable production and consumption are to be introduced in the planning of goods and services. The government can promote electric-motorization to lower emissions and also increase carbon absorption by creating green zones, ponds and planting trees, which all align well with the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
3. The transportation sector needs to reduce the demand for energy services and increase utilization of low-carbon technologies. One technology with highly promising potential is electric vehicles, which also should be coupled with breakthroughs in battery and energy storage technology. Alternatives such as hydrogen energy and sustainable biofuels ought to be considered for air and sea transportation. Furthermore, the construction sector has very high potential to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The focus over the next ten years will be on urban renewal and expediting the introduction of critical mitigation technologies.
4. Intensifying investment to combat climate change can speed progress toward all climate goals. Current investment is clearly insufficient compared with what is necessary to reach 2030 goals. Every developed country will need to provide resources, increase public and private sector investments, and assist developing nations. Enhanced international financial collaboration is a key driver for achieving lower carbon emissions and fair transformation, which are essential to solving problems such as unfair channels for financing as well as to lower costs and risks due to climate change impacts. Investments and policies play an important role in driving innovation in low-carbon technologies, and every country should assess the potential benefits, barriers, and risks that they face. Governments should strive to formulate and integrate policies to encourage innovation of systems that will help make breakthroughs and proliferate low-emission technologies worldwide.
5. Moreover, AR6 elaborates upon various keys to mitigation, such as technological transformation to achieve low carbon emissions, policies, regulations, and economic measures such as carbon pricing. Technological transformations include management of energy needs, energy and material efficiency, circular flow of materials, reduction technologies, and changes in production – all of which work alongside the removal of carbon dioxide.
Taiwan’s “Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050” was released on 30 March in response to the global trend toward net-zero emissions, pressure on supply chains to lower emissions and the negative impact of extreme weather events. It covers transformation in the four main areas of energy, industry, daily life and society. The “Pathways” are founded upon the two administrative pillars of “research and development into technology” and “climate laws and regulations”, and are supplemented by twelve key strategies for formulating and implementing action plans that take into account the increasing importance of the four transformation areas, towards the goal of transition to net-zero emissions.
The EPA noted that Taiwan’s strategies and plans for net-zero emissions are closely aligned with the UN’s latest climate mitigation report. Public dialogues for the next phase will be launched with strategies mentioned in the UN’s report, Taiwan’s “Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions By 2050”, based on the 12 key strategies. Inviting opinions from society will help everyone find a path to consensus among various viewpoints and help cope with and solve these difficult issues. The aim is to lay down the most solid foundation for Taiwan’s overall development and use the transition to net-zero emissions as the main driver for innovation in the whole country.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, April 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)