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ECCT welcomes passage of greenhouse gas reduction act

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act was passed on 15 June by the Taiwan legislature after many years of debate. The act sets a mandatory reduction target for Taiwan's overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and paves the way for a carbon cap-and-trade system to be established in Taiwan. The passage of the act marks a significant milestone for Taiwan and a major breakthrough for the ECCT, especially members of the Energy & Environment committee, which have advocated action to reduce Taiwan's carbon emissions since 2006. While the act does not go as far as commitments of EU countries, it marks a legal commitment to take action to cut carbon emissions. This sends an important signal to the international community ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) meeting to be held in Paris in December 2015 that Taiwan is a responsible member of the international community that is willing to do its part. Members of the ECCT acknowledge the efforts of the government, particularly the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), which drafted the act and worked tirelessly over many years to promote its passage, and the legislature for passing the act.

Since 2006, members of the ECCT have been calling for action to reduce Taiwan's CO2 emissions. Recommendations to set targets, draw up and implement policies that would reduce carbon emissions have been set out in the position papers of the ECCT's Energy & Environment committee every year since then. In every position paper since 2011, the Energy & Environment committee has specifically advocated the passage of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act.

The act specifies a target for Taiwan's carbon emissions to be capped at 50% of the 2005 level by 2050. This implies that emissions would be cut from 251 metric tonnes in 2005 to 122.5 million metric tonnes by 2050. In contrast, countries in the EU target a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The act also stipulates that a national action plan for climate change and implementation measures for cutting greenhouse gases should be established within one year. Under the act, businesses are to be assigned an annual quota of carbon emissions. Firms exceeding caps can purchase the rights to additional emissions from those with unused credits. The first stage of the act's enforcement would focus on calculating the maximum permissible amounts of emissions granted to each firm and ensuring that companies upload their emissions data accurately.

The act stipulates that the EPA establish a climate change and emissions management fund responsible for collecting payments from companies. All funds must be invested exclusively in initiatives that reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, including research and development on clean energy production technologies, industry inspections and education.