By Charles CY Chou, Director General TECO Miami
Climate change is rapidly reshaping our planet, propelling global temperatures to unprecedented heights due to an alarming increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.
Amid this crisis, there exists a critical window for decisive action, and Taiwan is actively engaging with the global community to achieve net-zero emissions. As we witness the challenges of climate change, Taiwan stands out as a reliable, secure, and trustworthy partner in the pursuit of a sustainable future.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s enactment of the Climate Change Response Act in February solidifies Taiwan’s commitment to combatting climate change, legally binding the nation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
This legislative landmark showcases Taiwan’s unwavering determination to curb emissions and sets the stage for innovative solutions to address the challenges ahead. Concurrently, the government is implementing a carbon pricing mechanism and offering financial incentives to guide businesses toward sustainable, low-carbon development.
Taiwan’s ambitious Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions in 2050, accompanied by 12 key strategies, reflects a comprehensive approach grounded in robust governance frameworks for technology research, development, and climate legislation. The nation is intensifying efforts across energy, industry, lifestyle, and social realms, focusing on sustainable energy sources, low-carbon technologies, negative carbon emissions, circular economy initiatives, and humanities and social sciences.
Taiwan’s outstanding achievements in energy transition over the past decade underscore its commitment to a sustainable future. With an annual improvement of 2.9 percent in energy intensity, Taiwan ranks eighth globally in energy efficiency, outpacing regional counterparts. The significant increase in wind and solar power installations, reaching 13.9 gigawatts in 2023, demonstrates Taiwan’s prowess in renewable energy. Renewable sources are poised to contribute 10 percent to the nation’s total electricity generation this year, a testament to Taiwan’s dedication to a stable power supply and reduced pollution.
In response to the global shift towards net-zero emissions, Taiwan has undergone structural reforms, elevating the Environmental Protection Administration to the Ministry of Environment. The newly formed Climate Change Administration coordinates efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gases.
Taiwan’s commitment is further evident in the publication of the Adaptation Communication report, detailing scientific research findings and the implementation of adaptation actions.
Taiwan is a small island and heavily relies on imported resources. In order to make its economy sustainable, Taiwan achieved remarkable success in waste management, with a 59.5 percent municipal waste recycling rate and an 86.5 percent industrial waste reuse rate in 2022.
The Resource Circulation Administration, a recent addition under the Ministry of Environment, signifies a shift towards comprehensive resource circulation, circular economy development, and the ambitious goal of zero-waste. Taiwan actively develops innovative technologies to support resource circulation, aligning with its vision of zero-waste and net-zero emissions.
As an export-oriented economy, Taiwan recognizes the influence of international conditions and regulations on its businesses. The establishment of interministerial coordination mechanisms, the Green Finance Action Plan, and the Taiwan Carbon Solution Exchange showcase Taiwan’s commitment to aligning with global trends. By incentivizing enterprises to reduce carbon emissions and promoting low-carbon technology research and development, Taiwan contributes to the virtuous cycle of the green economy.
Despite facing challenges, Taiwan actively seeks opportunities to contribute to the international community. Leveraging its expertise in green technology, Taiwan aims to play a pivotal role in global programs spanning disaster relief, environmental protection, medicine, public health, and green energy. The hope remains for Taiwan to gain equal access to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, enabling its full participation in international cooperation mechanisms and negotiations related to the Paris Agreement.
In conclusion, Taiwan’s proactive stance, legislative commitments, technological achievements, and dedication to sustainability make it an invaluable ally in the global fight against climate change. The time is ripe for the international community to recognize Taiwan’s pivotal role and welcome it into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, fostering a united front against the escalating threat of climate change.