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Taiwan sets new emissions reduction goal for 2030

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Taiwan aims to reduce carbon emissions by 23-25% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels in pursuit of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the National Development Council said Wednesday at a press conference.

To reach the 2030 goal, the agency revealed a slew of net-zero transition action plans based on 12 key strategies, including wind power, solar energy, hydrogen energy, innovative energy, carbon capture, utilization and storage, as well as decarbonization across the transportation sector.

The government plans to allocate nearly NT$900 billion (US$29.24 billion) by 2030 to realize the plans and achieve the goal, according to the agency.

The goal has been set as Taiwan is reviewing the original 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of reducing emissions by 20% below the 2005 level, a base year for the long-term effort, and preparing to submit the next round of new or updated NDCs under the Paris Agreement.

Taiwan submitted its intended NDC in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of 2005 levels by 2030.

However, parties to the Paris Agreement are requested to submit new or updated NDCs by the end of this year in accordance with the decision made during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP26, which was held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom last November.

National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said at the press conference that while transitioning to a net-zero carbon emissions world is an unshirkable responsibility for Taiwan, doing so can in fact generate enormous business opportunities for the country.

By 2030, the push towards net-zero carbon emissions is expected to spur about NT$4 trillion in private investment, generating production value of NT$5.9 trillion, and create 551,000 jobs, Kung said.

To encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to cut emissions, the government is studying incentive measures including subsidies and tax breaks, Kung added.

The discussion on issues related to carbon pricing such as emissions trading systems and carbon taxes was underway, according to Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬).

He suggested developing ways to structure a carbon tax that reflects the true cost of polluting greenhouse gas emissions and does not place an undue burden on consumers.

Unsatisfied with the goal, several environmental groups, including the Green Citizens' Action Alliance and Citizen of the World, issued a joint statement, saying that the government needs to take more ambitious actions to decrease emissions and that the 23% to 25% emissions reduction target is not sufficient.

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