Minister Tzi-Chin Chang
Environmental Protection Administration
Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (Taiwan)
October 2022- The global transition towards net zero has been initiated. The innovative approaches to international collaboration emphasized by the Paris Agreement have also been developing gradually. The international treaty on climate change calls for extensive cooperation among all nations to achieve global reduction targets. Taiwan is willing and able to work with international partners to jointly implement net-zero transition and global climate actions to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations.
Taiwan is the 21st largest economy in the world and has a strong influence on the economic prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. In particular, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry plays a pivotal role in the international supply chain. By developing new technologies and models, the semiconductor industry is actively endeavoring to reduce energy and resource usage in production. It also adopts various smart applications of electronic products with the continuous evolution of semiconductor innovation and promotes global energy conservation. Taiwan is implementing climate action and vigorously promoting energy transition. As of May 2022, the cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy reached 12.3 GW, a 1.6-fold increase compared with 2016. From 2005 to 2020, Taiwan’s GDP increased by 79%, and GHG emissions intensity was reduced by 45%, showing that its economic growth is decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions.
On Earth Day on April 22, 2021, President Tsai Ing-wen declared the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Within a year, the Executive Yuan published Taiwan’s Pathway to Net-Zero Emission in 2050 in March 2022. Now Taiwan is promoting transition strategies in four areas: energy, industry, lifestyle, and society. Built on the foundations of technology R&D and climate legislation, these strategies are complemented by an additional 12 strategic priorities, namely wind and solar energy; hydrogen energy; innovative energy; power systems and energy storage; energy savings and efficiency; carbon capture, utilization and storage; carbon-free and electric vehicles; resource recycling and zero waste; carbon sinks; green lifestyles; green finance; and just transition. By integrating intragovernmental resources, Taiwan is taking a pragmatic and forward-looking approach to implementing its 2050 goal.
Sustainable energy, low carbon, circularity, carbon negative, and social science are the five areas on which Taiwan focuses as it builds the foundation of technical R&D needed to plan for and develop net-zero transition. Meanwhile, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act is being amended and will be renamed the Climate Change Response Act. The amended act will stipulate a national goal of net-zero emissions, improve the effectiveness of climate governance, update the chapter on climate change adaptation, strengthen information disclosure and public participation, and mandate the introduction of a carbon-pricing mechanism. The long-term vision of Taiwan’s 2050 net-zero emission transformation will prompt economic growth, stimulate private investments, create green jobs, and enhance energy independence and social well-being. These will be achieved by building on the competitive transition strategies and governance foundation, which are circulatively sustainable, resilient and safe. It makes net-zero transformation a new driving force for Taiwan’s development.
Taiwan is excluded from many international organizations due to political prejudice. It cannot participate in global discussions on climate issues. As a result, it is difficult for Taiwan to be updated on and engage in the latest climate action promptly. This gap will lead to a vacancy in global climate governance. With Taiwan’s limited independent energy and foreign trade-oriented economy, its industries’ attempt to go green and the stability of the international industrial supply chain will be undermined if Taiwan is unable to link up with the international cooperation mechanism under the Paris Agreement. Moreover, under the threat of global carbon border adjustment measures, Taiwan’s overall competitiveness will be impacted due to its inability to fairly participate in the international carbon reduction mechanism. It will also lessen the effectiveness of international cooperation and affect the world economy.
Promoting net-zero transition is a collective and inalienable responsibility that affects generations. Net zero can be realized only by jointly working together in the international community. With a pragmatic and professional spirit, Taiwan is willing to make concrete contributions to the global fight against climate change. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Taiwan has proven to be the friendliest contributor with the greatest potential in the world in every respect, and it should be given the same opportunity as part of the international collaboration in response to climate change. We hope the international community will support Taiwan and give us the opportunity to participate immediately, fairly and meaningfully.