he Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Management Act was passed June 15 by the ROC Legislature, underscoring the commitment of the government to better protecting Taiwan’s environment and playing a greater role in combating climate change.
“This milestone legislation brings the country more in line with international policymaking,” Environmental Protection Administration Minister Wei Kuo-yen said. “It is also expected to enhance national competitiveness and spur development of the green sector.”
According to Wei, carbon emissions are increasingly seen as a barrier in the global marketplace, a significant concern to Taiwan due to the country’s high dependency on foreign trade.
“The timing of the bill is opportune given that the 21st Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place at the end of the year in Paris,” he said, adding that this demonstrates the government’s firm support of the U.N. body and its agenda.
Proposed by the EPA in 2006, the law sets Taiwan’s 2050 emission reduction target at 50 percent the level of 2005, or 122.5 million metric tons. It also stipulates the establishment within one year of a national action plan for climate change and implementation measures for slashing greenhouse gases. Both stipulations are subject to review every five years.
Under the bill, businesses are to be assigned a quota of carbon emissions per year as a way of managing Taiwan’s total output. Firms exceeding caps can purchase the rights to additional emissions from those with unused credits.
But those businesses failing to make remedies within 90 days are subject to maximum fines of NT$2 million (US$63,987) and/or operating shutdowns and suspensions.
Bureau of Energy Director-General Lin Chuan-neng said the farsighted legislation takes into account the results of extensive public-private sector consultations. “We are working with companies to develop better equipment and practices in energy efficiency management, including carbon capture and storage technology.”
Passage of the bill was warmly welcomed by the European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei. “The EU remains ready to share best practices to address one of the defining challenges of our generation,” the EETO said.