Taiwan aims to reduce carbon emissions by 23-25 percent by 2030 compared with 2005, although it is pursuing the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the National Development Council said at a press conference.
To reach the 2030 goal, the agency revealed a slew of net-zero transition action plans based on 12 key strategies, including wind power/photovoltaics, hydrogen energy, innovative energy, carbon capture, utilization and storage, and decarbonization across the transportation sector.
The government plans to spend nearly NT$900 billion (US$29.24 billion) by 2030 on the implementation of the plans and the achievement of the goal, according to the agency.
The goal has been set as Taiwan is reviewing the original 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of reducing emissions by 20 percent below the 2005 level, a base year for the long-term effort, and preparing to submit the next round of new or updated NDCs under the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 requires countries to put forward their best efforts through NDCs, which represent targets and actions for the post-2020 period.
Taiwan submitted its intended NDC in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.
However, parties to the Paris Agreement are requested to submit new or updated NDCs by the end of this year in accordance with the decision made during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP26, which was held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom last November.
A new report from U.N. Climate Change showed that while countries are reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the combined climate pledges of 193 parties under the Paris Agreement will still increase emissions by 10.6 percent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.
At Wednesday’s press conference, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin said that while transitioning to a net-zero carbon emissions world is an unshirkable responsibility for Taiwan, doing so can in fact generate enormous business opportunities for the country.
By 2030, the push towards net-zero carbon emissions is expected to spur about NT$4 trillion in private investment, generate production value of NT$5.9 trillion, and create 551,000 jobs, Kung said.
To encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to cut emissions, the government is studying incentive measures including subsidies and tax breaks, Kung added.
Also at the event, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin said that discussion on issues related to carbon pricing such as emissions trading systems and carbon taxes was underway.
He suggested developing ways to structure a carbon tax that reflects the true cost of polluting greenhouse gas emissions and does not place an undue burden on consumers.
Unsatisfied with the goal, several environmental groups including Green Citizens’ Action Alliance and Citizen of the World, issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying that the government needs to take more ambitious actions to decrease emissions and that the 23 percent to 25 percent emissions reduction target is not sufficient.
“The top priority is to disclose basic information — such as budgets, specific goals, quantitative data on energy, and industry assessments — so that discussions on a transition to net-zero can be based on real data,” according to the statement.