Taiwan's government plans to start collecting carbon fees from enterprises that generate greenhouse gas emissions starting in the second half of 2024, according to Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬).
The government will introduce a carbon fee scheme, including pricing for direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, later this year, Chang said at the inauguration ceremony of a preparatory office for a climate change agency.
An EPA review committee will discuss and finalize the carbon pricing plan in early 2024, and the government expects to start collecting carbon fees in the latter half of the year, Chang said.
He offered few other details on the plan, however, and did not directly respond to questions about whether the EPA would adopt the suggestion of civic groups to initially set the carbon fee at NT$500 (US$16.32) per metric ton in line with international standards.
Instead, he argued, imposing flat rates might force enterprises to simply pass on the higher costs they face to customers.
According to research by InfoLink Consulting, a renewable energy consulting firm, carbon prices in Taiwan’s neighboring countries are forecast to range from NT$200 to NT$300 per tonne by 2024, and even up to NT$500 per tonne in Singapore. Therefore, for EPA to set NT$300 as the initial price is not too high. It is also viable to set the price at NT$500 per tonne following Singapore's case, so that companies will not have to face high increases in the future.
Chang said that incentives such as discounts on carbon fees might be included in the scheme to encourage enterprises to invest in measures to reduce their carbon footprint.
According to Chang, the carbon fee scheme will be one of the new preparatory office's major responsibilities, in line with the requirements of the Climate Change Response Act promulgated in February.
Preparatory office head Tsai Ling-yi (蔡玲儀) said her office will also be responsible for monitoring the efforts of different government agencies to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
It will also help prepare Taiwanese enterprises to respond to the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) regulations, under which tariffs will be imposed on carbon intensive products exported to the EU beginning in 2026, she said.
Speaking at Saturday's ceremony, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said the inauguration of the preparatory office marked "a crucial step" in the government's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and showed Taiwan's determination to achieve its net-zero emission goal by 2050.
While achieving net-zero was challenging, such efforts were necessary for companies to maintain their competitiveness in international markets and for Taiwan to ensure its sustainable development, Chen added.
Besides, the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) announced Thursday that it will team up with the Cabinet's National Development Fund to open a carbon exchange.
Registration for the new carbon credit transaction platform is scheduled for mid-2023, with preparatory work currently underway, according to the TWSE.
The TWSE said its task force had been handling the preparatory work for the exchange since 2022. In the near future, the TWSE will call on business groups and environmental protection activist groups for the matter.