Taiwan commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
Author: Thompson Chau
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on February 15, 2023 signed a major climate change law that introduces a net-zero carbon target for 2050 and a carbon fee system for large emitters, a move that will make Taiwan a key player in Asia's climate policy. Taiwan's Legislative Yuan on Jan. 10 passed the Climate Change Response Act to set a legally binding target of no net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, meaning any such emissions would be balanced by initiatives to offset them. This includes using carbon capture and storage projects, or planting trees. The government in 2021 unveiled its plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but it took time for this to become codified. Phasing out coal plants remains a key challenge because Tsai plans to eliminate nuclear power by 2025 in the aftermath of Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. Her administration aims to expand use of renewable energy to 20% by 2025, with coal-powered electricity at 30% and natural gas at 50%. The new law will incrementally implement a mechanism to collect carbon fees on direct and indirect emissions from businesses and entities whose emissions reach a certain threshold. It will also establish carbon tariffs on imports of carbon-intensive products. Revenues from the tariffs will be allocated to a Greenhouse Gas Management Fund with the purpose of subsidizing investment in carbon reduction technologies and local governments for climate policy-related costs.