Tech key for net zero plan: Tsai

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Taiwan must not only alter the way it generates power and does business to reduce carbon emissions, but also the way Taiwanese eat and live, Tsai said

  • By Yang Mien-chieh and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter, with staff writer

The nation would reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through technology research and development and climate governance, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday at an Earth Day event.

Speaking at the “100 Re-Actions! The Solution for Our Earth” event in Taipei, Tsai said that technological improvements would be the driving force for the world to reach net-zero carbon emissions targets, and Taiwan should use its strengths in science and technology to make advancements in the field of renewable energies.

The Cabinet on Thursday approved an Environmental Protection Administration draft bill to amend the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act (溫室氣體減量及管理法) to include the government’s net zero carbon emissions goal, a carbon pricing scheme and carbon emissions quantification mechanism, she said .

Photo: CNA

The bill, which has been sent to the legislature for review, would rename the act “the climate change response act,” she added.

Among the four categories for reducing carbon emissions — energy, industry, life and society — Tsai said that energy transition is the most important.

The government has been developing the domestic renewable energy industry since 2016 to increase the amount of power generated from sustainable sources, setting the stage for Taiwan to be the green energy hub of Asia, she said.

The government would promote the research and development of emerging technologies in hydrogen and geothermal energy, and continue to improve the smart grid and energy storage devices, she said.

The goal is to have sustainable sources of energy account for more than 60 percent of the nation’s energy generation by 2050, with about 20 percent from thermal power, she added.

Regarding the industry category, the government is seeking opinions from all sectors to propose systematic strategies to reduce carbon emissions, she said.

As an export-oriented economy, Taiwan must improve manufacturing processes and continue the electrification of transportation for the country to be part of the global green supply chain, she said.

The government would also facilitate a transition in banking through the implementation of “green finance,” she added.

Tsai said that large enterprises should take the lead in making changes to reduce carbon emissions to increase Taiwan’s competitiveness on the global stage.

She also urged the public to adopt a low-carbon lifestyle, which would include changes in diet, transportation and home design.

As for society, the government plans to establish a support system to help vulnerable groups and ensure that the transition is equitable.

American Institute in Taiwan Director Sandra Oudkirk yesterday called Taiwan “a global environmental leader” in wind and geothermal power technologies in her opening remarks at the American Innovation Center’s annual Innovation Forum in Taipei, which Tsai also attended.

Oudkirk also praised Taiwan’s net zero carbon emissions road map.

“The United States alone cannot save the ocean or stop more than 1 million of our planet’s plants and animals from vanishing forever. We alone cannot reach the essential goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C,” she said. “We have to work together.”

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