As the world again focuses its energies on the climate crisis, Taiwan should do more to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 to ensure that its products are not marginalized on the global market, Greenpeace said on Sunday.
More than 110 countries have signed on to the global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050, potentially to be joined by the US after its formal return to the Paris Agreement on Friday.
With the deadline just shy of 30 years away, many countries have been putting forth detailed plans of how they aim to achieve the goal.
For many, carbon taxes are a popular option.
The EU in its European Green Deal plans to draft a proposal for a “carbon border adjustment mechanism” by this year, which would impose a tariff or other restrictions on imports with a heavy carbon footprint, the environmental group said.
In the US, Greenpeace predicted that the new administration would make neutrality the foundation of its next phase of emissions policies to be announced before it hosts a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day on April 22.
Before he took office, US President Joe Biden also proposed a carbon price on products from countries or regions that fail to meet carbon reduction obligations.
The average Taiwanese produces more emissions than the average Japanese or EU citizen, but the nation is still only committed to its 2015 goal of reducing emissions by half of 2005 levels by 2050, Greenpeace said, citing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法).
This lags far behind the international consensus, the group said, adding that it could have negative implications for the nation’s long-term development and global competitiveness.
Carbon reduction has already shifted from being a simple climate policy to becoming the key to economic competitiveness, Greenpeace project director Cheng Chu-hsin (鄭楚忻) said.
Taiwan should commit to carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and formulate a carbon pricing mechanism that can effectively reduce emissions, she said.
Otherwise, the nation’s exporters could face high tariffs or even lose orders from countries with carbon border controls, Cheng added.
This is to be a critical year in the global fight against climate change, Cheng said, citing the US’ return to the Paris Agreement and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties to be held from Nov. 1 to 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
As the Environmental Protection Administration has said it intends to amend the greenhouse gas act this year, Greenpeace urged the government to take the opportunity to write carbon neutrality by 2050 into law.
It should also create a carbon pricing mechanism that targets major carbon producers, as well as speed up development of renewable energy and energy-saving measures, the group said.
Stimulating the development of a low-carbon economy would create a virtuous cycle that leads to further carbon reduction, it added.
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