The Premier Su Tseng-chang hosted the “33rd meeting of the Executive Yuan’s National Council for Sustainable Development” today (August 30) to discuss Taiwan’s sustainable development goals and its progress in achieving specific indicators. The Premier also stated that extreme weather is a global, collective challenge, and that more than 130 nations worldwide have already declared net-zero emission targets. He asked the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to actively amend the “Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act” to the “Climate Change Response Act” and include the “net-zero emissions by 2050” target in the legislation. In addition to communicating and evaluating such issues as promoting carbon fees that will be used exclusively for mitigating climate change, the EPA will also make comprehensive plans for carbon reduction allocation. This will enable Taiwan to create a sustainable green homeland in terms of supply, manufacturing, utilization, and the environment.
After the EPA’s report on “Enhance Response to Climate Change”, the Premier stated that extreme weather is a global challenge. An example is the worst drought in Taiwan within one hundred years. Taiwan suffered from a drought in May 2021 and was only able to recover due to the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. However, the heavy rain in July and August caused floods as extreme weather led to severe impact on our lives. The Premier stated that countries all over the world, such as our neighboring country Japan and nations in Europe, have suffered more severe impact. It is an issue that must be addressed by the world together. As a member of the global community, Taiwan must be part of the solution.
The Premier stated that more than 130 nations worldwide have already declared “net-zero emission” targets, and 11 nations including those in the European Union and Japan have already included the targets in legislation. Four countries, including Korea, are currently in the process of enacting legislation. China has announced its target of attaining carbon neutrality by 2060. The targets set by Taiwan in the past are no longer adequate for keeping up with the world. Therefore, on Earth Day, April 22 this year, President Tsai Ing-wen declared that the “net-zero emissions by 2050” target for the world will also become Taiwan’s national target. He also made a decision in the meeting of the Executive Yuan Council on the same day to adopt net-zero emissions by 2050 as the target for Taiwan’s “Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act”.
The Premier stated that the European Union plans to impose “carbon tariffs” starting from 2026 and many countries have prepared response measures for carbon tariff adjustment mechanisms. Countries such as those in the European Union have announced targets and set deadlines. They even enacted regulations for reducing payment if the country of origin has implemented carbon pricing. Taiwan is a major exporter and if it fails to levy carbon taxes, companies would pay carbon taxes in other countries instead of paying them in Taiwan. The time has come for Taiwan to speed up its process. The Premier emphasized that Taiwan can reach these targets if we all work together.
The Premier requested the EPA to actively proceed with the amendment of the “Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act” and include the “net-zero emissions by 2050” target in the legislation. The EPA shall engage and communicate with all relevant sectors to improve legislation and ensure sustainable development. The Premier also requested the EPA and Ministry of Economic Affairs to communicate with all sectors on the carbon pricing system and build consensus on detailed implementation and response measures. The Premier also requested active communication and careful evaluation on carbon pricing and carbon fees to be used exclusively for mitigating climate change, as well as comprehensive plans for carbon reduction allocation. This will enable Taiwan to create a sustainable green homeland in terms of supply, manufacturing, utilization, and the environment.
With regard to the “Annual Report on Taiwan’s Sustainable Development Goals”, the Premier stated that this year marked the second annual follow-up and tracking after the sustainable development goals were established in 2019. Of the 336 indicators, Taiwan has met requirements for 242 indicators with a success rate of 72%. Although Taiwan fell behind schedule for 45 indicators, the results for certain indicators were caused by insufficient implementation, but by multiple factors such as the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. The government has enacted regulations and required compliance, which reduced the number of users of public transportation and prevented foreign teams on renewable energy projects from entering Taiwan for construction. The measures for online participation in public policy included regulations for suspending the submission of proposals 60 days before a national referendum, which decreased the participation rate.
The Premier also pointed out that certain annual targets were not met due to changes in circumstances, related laws, or epidemic prevention. The Premier also agreed to the opinions of Council members in the meeting. If there is a change in the set target, a report can be filed to address relevant changes, such as whether to use the original target or adjust for changes. The Premier stated that if targets are not adjusted, the working groups should strengthen supervision and invite relevant authorities and professional members of the Council to convene working meetings. They should collect opinions and implement continuous reviews and amendments of the corresponding targets to enhance the achievement rate of the targets.
The Premier emphasized that as the topics discussed today and overall national development are closely connected to sustainability, all related ministries must be responsible for their respective tasks. The National Development Council (NDC) is responsible for the review and approval of overall national development plans and it is also a main entity responsible for climate change issues. To ensure that related issues can be coordinated and processed on the same platform, the secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) will be changed from the EPA to the NDC, and Kung Ming-hsin, Minister without Portfolio and Minister of the NDC, will serve as the Chief Executive Officer. The Premier also wishes to thank the members of the Council for their valuable recommendations and thank the employees of the EPA and NDC for their hard work.
Sources: Executive Yuan